SpaceX Lands the Faclon9 First Stage – A revolution in Rocket Science and Engineering

Today, at 8:33, Spacex made history. They landed the first stage of their Falcon9 rocket after having it successfully deploy a second stage into low earth orbit.

The Video is here:

Unlike other rocket companies, Spacex in not making small hops – they did that 2 years ago with their grasshopper rocket. In fact, this is how they tested the initial avionics systems that would be able to land the rocket in a stable position autonomously. Here is some footage:

Unlike the companies that makes these hops, Spacex has to use this stage to help get payloads into low earth orbit… and then recover it! This is incredibly difficult and requires an advanced retro-trusting maneuver that has never been successful – until now! The diagram below shows this trusting maneuver, which happens shortly after the second stage has decoupled and ignited.

Spacex claims that this is similar to trowing a pencil over the Empire State Building, then having it flip perfectly, then have it fall into a shoebox… easy enough right?

Only, in real life SpaceX isn’t shooting a pencil… they are shooting a rocket! This is the pad that the now famous falcon9 rocket landed on:

Now you might ask, why does this matter? This means space will become cheaper! We can already build satellites that are less than $10,000, as a matter of fact I’m building a small satellite with a team right now! As it currently stands, space travel is too expensive for creative people to take risks. Now, thanks to SpaceX, we may be mining or visiting asteroids, visiting the moon, visiting mars, or doing something crazier – and we may be doing this very soon! The Falcon9 rocket costs $54 million to build but only $200,000 to refuel… let’s put this in perspective… That’s the same amount that it costs to refuel a Boeing 747 (which is the airplane that consumers use to fly around the world). This means that space travel could be as cheap as air travel very soon! Way to go SpaceX!

If you want to watch the full launch and landing video check it out here (this may be moved in the future):

Credit: SpaceX