This weekend, SpaceX managed to land another rocket smoothly. The mission’s purpose was to deliver to Earth’s orbit a communication satellite that would serve Africa, India, and Thailand. The whole event was broadcasted on company’s website.
Elon Musk declared that space rides will become a routine. However, at this moment, rocket launches and landings are still dramatic and produce a lot of excitement.
At the start of this mission, company representatives were reluctant on the success of the landing. The rocket had to travel through extreme velocities and to experience high heat when re-entering the atmosphere. Engineers thought it would be a difficult landing.
Things turned out just fine for Elon Musk and his team. The SpaceX rocket took off from Cape Canaveral at 5.39 in the evening and landed again on an ocean ship close to Florida. Even if engines were at full capacity, the rocket reached the surface in perfect posture.
In the last couple of years, SpaceX had tried to optimize the process of landing so as to produce minimum damage to the spacecraft. In the past, rocket landings ended up with ocean collisions. The spacecraft could neither be recovered nor reused.
Today’s plans are to create a technology that will survive after completing the space travel. Continuous efforts have been made to optimize the landing process. All these efforts resulted in four successful landings for SpaceX.
The first landing was in December 2015, at Cape Canaveral. Two other sea landings followed the winter premiere, the second of them taking place just at the beginning of this month. Again, SpaceX was pessimistic about the landing. Even if the rocket reached the sea platform at the very last moment, the landing turned out to be safe.
The conditions of this weekend’s landing were similar to those from the beginning of May. This fourth success proves that the issues experienced on the previous sea landing were accidental and easy to prevent.
Elon Musk is getting closer to his ultimate goal, the trip to Mars. As the atmosphere on the Red Planet is relatively thin, it will be somewhat difficult to land a large mass spacecraft. Perfecting the art of landing will be to his advantage when facing possibly hazardous atmosphere conditions.
SpaceX has also announced that they plan to send a Dragon capsule to Mars. The Falcon Heavy rocket, which will carry the capsule, is programmed to have the first test by the end of the year.
The company is not strictly depending on the Falcon Heavy Rocket on this mission, as the engineers are trying to create a capsule that will be able to land itself on the planet’s surface.
Elon Musk’s project was first seen as an eccentricity. Now, the company has more than 4,000 employees that work on multibillion-dollar contracts for commercial satellites orbit launches and NASA cargo missions.