Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, best known as SpaceX, successfully launched a Falcon 9 Rocket to orbit in order to deploy 11 suborbital satellites on Monday and then the company amazingly returned the first stage of the rocket to Earth, which is part of a plan to create low-cost space flights.
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company, was surprised when the rocket return occurred because he initially thought the booster of the Falcon 9 did not stick its landing, as Space reports.
Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. As the first rocket completely developed in the 21st century, Falcon 9 was designed from the ground up for maximum reliability, wrote the company in its official webpage.
“I ran out on the causeway just to watch the landing, and the sonic boom reached me just as the rocket touched down, so I thought at first the rocket exploded. Then I went back into launch control and saw this amazing video of the rocket on the pad, I can’t quite believe it. It’s a revolutionary moment. No one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact.” Said Elon Musk to reporters by a video conference.
Musk also remarked that they achieved recovery of the rocket in a mission that actually deployed 11 satellites. SpaceX researchers, scientists and employees seemed incredibly excited with the operation that was recorded in High Definition and can be seen in the Space X website.
Space.com reported that SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket at 8:29 p.m EST at Florida’s Cape Canavernal Air Force Station. The development of the rocket has costed more than $16 billion to the company but the propellants, which are the chemicals that permit the propulsion of the rocket, costs only about $200,000 so it seems a reduction of costs of launchings will occur in the long term.
The CEO of SpaceX is also the man who runs Tesla, the electric car company that has revolutionized the market of luxurious electric cars that go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in as little as 2.8 seconds without a drop of gasoline. So it appears he is a man who trusts a future full of technological and affordable development.
NASA ordered a SpaceX crew mission to the ISS
Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program announced Boeing CSR-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon will launch crew to the ISS two times per year since the agency ordered the projects to Boeing and SpaceX. The later explained in its official webpage SpaceX is the world’s fastest-growing provider of launch services.
“Under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA, SpaceX will fly numerous cargo resupply missions to the ISS, for a total of at least 12 —and in the near future, SpaceX will carry crew as well. Dragon was designed from the outset to carry astronauts and now, under a $440 million agreement with NASA. SpaceX is making modifications to make Dragon crew-ready,” Lueders said.
A team from Google Lunar XPRIZE will put a private robot on the moon launched by SpaceX
The launch will be part of Google’s competition, XPRIZE, which was created to impulse space access from private companies. The race created in 2007 have inspired the next generation of scientists, engineers, space explorers and adventurers, Google declared.
Google also stated Lunar XPRIZE wanted to incentivize space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond. $30 million will be the prize. The amount will be given to teams that could land a privately funded rover on the moon by 2017. 90 percent of costs need to be from private sources. Rovers will need to travel 1,640 feet and transmit back high definition video and images.
The first company that had a contract accepted by Google was SpaceIL, a nonprofit company from Israel. They will use a SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to launch its Sparrow lander into space. As stated in Space IL’s official website they want to use the inspiring story of the spacecraft to create an educational impact among the next generation in Israel and around the world.