SpaceX Nails Rocket Landing, What's Next For Elon Musk?
Elon Musk and his commercial spaceflight agency managed to fly a Falcon 9 rocket this month. This was after the SpaceX suspension was lifted following the rocket explosion last Sept. 1, 2016.
Aside from finally launching the rocket that was initially slated for lift-off last December, SpaceX magnificently landed the same spacecraft smoothly. The smooth lift-off and landing amazed the spectators who witnessed the event.
The return-to-flight rocket was launched last weekend, Jan. 14. During the flight, SpaceX sent 10 microsatellites to space and gracefully landing the spacecraft back to safety.
The landing was done on a remote ship in the Pacific Ocean, according to Space.com. This wasn't the first time that the company attempted to land a rocket on the sea; they have also successfully landed a rocket on a flat surface as well.
Elon Musk believes that in order to keep spaceflight cost cheaper, reusable rockets are the key. This is the reason why SpaceX has been trying to perfect their landing techniques.
Now that the company is technically back in business launching payloads in space, SpaceX is expected to further improve lift-off and landing technique. Being behind schedule delivering their promise to clients, including NASA, SpaceX will be busy in the coming months.
The company may also deliver goods to the International Space Station (ISS) and for the launch of SES-10, according to Teslarati. Both Boeing and SpaceX are slated to test Mars crew transporters starting 2018 on a project for NASA.
In the meantime, the next fight for the SpaceX Falcon 9 is set on Jan. 26 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base launch pad in Florida. The next flight will carry the payload of EchoStar Corp., a satellite that will enhance communications capacity for broadcast operations in Brazil.
Last year, despite the suspension and the explosion, SpaceX loyal costumers did not express any doubt that Musk's company will be able to fly again to deliver their end of the bargain. Since they're back, SpaceX' mission to Mars may also be in the works as the race to the red planet is getting interesting by the day.