SpaceX: - Second Time First!
First booster in history to launch twice and land twice.
In a historic "First", Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, has succeeded in launching AND recovering B1021, a first stage section for their Falcon 9 Full Thrust two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicles
for a Second Time!
for a Second Time!
Below: A nicely done montage of moments from the first and second flights
In April 2016 (See my post "ANOTHER SpaceX Success: Booster Brought Back To Barge!") booster B1021 was first launched AND recovered in a barge landing after the Falcon 9 Flight 23, the SpaceX Dragon CRS-8 resupply mission to the International Space Station under contract for NASA.
This was their second successful recovery. The first successful recovery of a rocket first stage that launched a payload to orbit was Flight 20, 22nd December 2015, which landed on the ground at Cape Canaveral. (See my post "SpaceX Success: Booster Brought Back To Base!") That rocket was not refurbished, but was proudly put on permanent display on a stand outside SpaceX headquarters.
After four months of refurbishment and static fire tests, on Thursday, March 30, at 6:27 p.m. EDT from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida they launched the booster B1021 again for Flight 23 to take the SES-10 telecommunications payload to orbit, and again successfully recovered it with another controlled landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" barge at sea off the Florida coast.
The live feed of the on-site camera coverage of the landing was interrupted, and the actual moment of touch-down was not seen. Conspiracy theorists are having a field-day, but I expect there will be video surfacing later. It is said the conditions of vibration at the time can interrupt the live signal to satellite, but not the actual recordings, which will be recovered when they bring the barge with booster back to shore. Conspiracy-theorists say this will give SpaceX time to produce their CGI fictional presentation of a landing that never happened!
I managed to watch the feed live from my desk at work. It happily coincided with my lunch break, but I would have watched it at any time, and wouldn't have cared who thought I was goofing off, or wasting company bandwidth! This is a bit more important than that!
I note the company SES ,who will operate the launched SES-10 satellite manufactured by Airbus Defence & Space, were at pains to insist they did not believe they were taking a risk with their presumably very expensive gear by contracting a "second-hand" vehicle for the launch, saying “SpaceX has been through this booster with a fine tooth comb. This booster is a really good booster.”
Here they are reported confidently detailing SpaceX's refurbishment process: - http://www.universetoday.com/134778/ses-comsat-boss-proclaims-high-confidence-in-bold-spacex-1st-flight-proven-rocket-launch-march-30/
More details on the satellite itself can be read here, where SES announced the mission's success: -
Finally, Spacex founder Elon Musk afterwards. This is from the full 53 minute SpaceX live cast of the mission, if you have the patience. The full cast includes as well, pre-flight background & interviews, and the second stage progress and satellite deployment. The staff get pretty excited at critical stages of the mission!
It has not been an easy road for SpaceX, below is the history of their landings, six failures out of twenty attempts so far.