Part of SpaceX made Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed on a floating drone ship at the sea amid loud cheers on Friday afternoon.
The rocket was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:43 p.m. with a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station.
The rocket then returned from space and landed on the ship upright. Four similar attempts in the past had met with failure, though a similar landing on solid ground in December had met with success.
The feat is crucial to Elon Musk led SpaceX’s plans, who jokingly told the press that the rocket landed without “putting a hole in the ship or tipping over”.
US President Barack Obama congratulated Musk and NASA for the achievement.
Congrats SpaceX on landing a rocket at sea. It’s because of innovators like you & NASA that America continues to lead in space exploration.Advertisement
— President Obama (@POTUS) April 8, 2016
For SpaceX, such an achievement means reduction in costs because now they’ll be able to recover more of the rockets and reuse them.
While landing on the ground requires more fuel for the rocket because of the parabolic distance from the ground to the space. A rocket has to cover this distance on its way back, because you cannot simply let your rocket land on hostile territory!
Ocean landings are therefore easier. A drone ship can position itself according to the rocket’s natural path back to earth, which also saves a lot of fuel.
Reusable rockets will be the new thing. Currently, all rockets that go into space are either destroyed or lost forever. A single Falcon 9 rocket costs $60 million to make and burns $200,000 worth of fuel.
According to reports, the company expects to bring down the launch cost by as much as 30 per cent, which will directly benefit those who wish to avail of SpaceX’s services.