press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
SpaceX sent a Falcon rocket soaring towards the orbit Monday night with 11 small satellites, its first mission since an accident last summer. Then in an even more astounding feat, it landed the 15-storey leftover booster back on Earth safely.
It was the first time an unmanned rocket returned to land vertically at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and represented a tremendous success for SpaceX. The company led by billionaire Elon Musk is striving for reusability to drive launch costs down and open up space to more people.
“Welcome back, baby!” Mr. Musk tweeted after touchdown.
“It’s a revolutionary moment,” he later told reporters. “No one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact.”
What’s significant is that this was a useful mission, he noted, not merely a practice flight. “We achieved recovery of the rocket in a mission that actually deployed 11 satellites.”
SpaceX employees broke into cheers and chants, some of them jumping up and down, following the smooth touchdown nine minutes after liftoff. Previous landing attempts ended in fiery blasts, but those aimed for an ocean platform.
Mr. Musk said the landing appeared close to perfect and the company “could not have asked for a better mission or a better day.”
The top officer at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, noted that the returning booster “placed the exclamation mark on 2015.”
On its previous flight back in June, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket failed shortly after liftoff, destroying a supply ship intended for the International Space Station. A snapped strut in the upper stage was to blame.
SpaceX spent months correcting the problem and improving the unmanned rocket. It hopes to resume supply runs for NASA in February.
From: The Hindu