#Falcon9 #SpaceX – SpaceX Nails Fourth Falcon 9 Rocket Landing On Droneship : For the fourth time, aerospace company SpaceX successfully landed its reusable Falcon 9 rocket on a floating droneship Sunday, just minutes after sending a Japanese satellite into orbit.
The achievement marks the Southern Californian company’s eighth launch in 2016 and its sixth overall recovered Falcon 9 rocket since it began employing the reusable craft two years ago.
Challenging Launch And Landing
Sunday’s landing wasn’t a particularly easy feat. The Falcon 9 rocket’s main goal was to carry the onboard satellite called JCSAT-16 into the geostationary transfer orbit.
The GTO is a highly elliptical orbit that will take the JCSAT-16 about 36,000 kilometers or 22,300 miles out beyond the surface of the Earth. Getting to the GTO would entail the use of greater speed and more fuel than before, more so than getting to the lower Earth orbit.
This makes the rocket landing extremely difficult, because the rocket will experience extreme re-entry heating at high velocities during its descent to Earth, SpaceX said. Despite these circumstances, the company has successfully landed three Falcon 9 rockets that were bound for GTO on its floating droneships, aside from the recent landing.
On Sunday, after a flawless launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the Falcon 9 rocket’s main stage separated about three minutes into the atmosphere. The rocket then performed several complicated maneuvers and engine burns to flip the first stage back to Earth.