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Monday, December 21, 2015

SpaceX Makes History: Successfully Launches, Lands Falcon 9 Rocket

As reported by NBC NewsSpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket on Monday night, the first from the private spaceflight company since its rocket exploded on liftoff in June.

The first stage of the rocket, used to propel the payload to 100km (62 miles) or so until the second stage takes over, then successfully landed on Earth again at a prepared landing zone. This is the first time SpaceX has ever attempted to land a rocket on land, and the first successful attempt to recover a rocket from an orbital flight. Previous attempts, all unsuccessful, were attempted on floating landing pads.
The Falcon 9's first stage seconds after landing successfully - the first time a rocket has successfully been recovered this way. SpaceX
SpaceX has come close to landing a rocket but until now, never actually pulled the feat off. Blue Origin, founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, stuck a landing last month — but SpaceX founder Elon Musk pointed out that was a suborbital trip, the requirements for which are considerably different. Creating reusable rockets is important for lowering the cost of space travel, which could make space tourism and a trip to Mars more feasible.
The launch's payload, 11 ORBCOMM satellites destined to join others in the communications company's network, was also successfully deployed with no problems.

The Falcon 9's stage 2 rocket heats up after igniting, driving the payload into orbit. SpaceX

On June 28, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft filled with cargo for the International Space Station exploded a few minutes after lift-off.
The launch was originally scheduled for Sunday night, but was delayed because there was a 10 percent better chance of a successful landing on Monday, according to Musk.


Below is a shot which showcases the scale of the concrete landing pad where the rocket booster landed. That’s a person standing right there in the middle in case you couldn’t tell.  
But on to the good stuff. Here we have a long exposure shot showcasing the rocket launch, re-entry, and landing burns. 
 
In this photo, we have another shot of the booster landing. 
 
Next we have a nice still of the first stage landing right before making impact. 
 
And of course, here’s the booster resting comfortably after a successful landing.