Cape Canaveral, Florida – Space X the private space company is landing, this Sunday, a Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship after launching a payload into orbit.
The company hopes that the third try will be the one, at sea. Falcon 9 sea landing have been tried twice before back in 2015. Both times, according to Discovery News, failed. After hitting its target, came too hard and exploded on the ship’s deck.
The launch will be in Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and will be carrying NASA’s Jason-3 satellite.
The satellite carries instruments to monitor the ocean’s surface, with the main objective of collecting data about circulation patterns. It can also help to understand the effects of climate change. The satellite will be added to a dataset launched in 1992.
SpaceX made history when they successfully landed Falcon 9 on solid ground on December 21; with the launching of 11 spacecraft for satellite-communications company Orbcomm.
They were the first ones to be able to recover the rocket after a launch, it usually goes into space and never comes back.
This consecutives attempts are part of a bigger picture. SpaceX is planning on developing fully and rapidly reusable rockets with the main objective of reducing the cost of a spaceflight by a factor of 100, said the company founder and CEO Elon Musk.
This reduction could make launches and travels to space more affordable and even the Mars colonization economically feasible, he added. The Falcon 9 costs around $60 million to build, and the fuel costs about $200,000 per launch.
Jason-3 satellite is part of the mission and efforts jointed by the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the European climate-satellite organization EUMETSAT, the French space agency CNES and NASA.
SpaceX has a contract with NASA’s to launch their missions worthy of $2.6 billions.
Source: NBC News