Just before Christmas, Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully landed a rocket that had been sent into space, a world first. Now his company has revealed what went on behind the scenes on that incredible day.
After several failed attempts throughout 2015, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX had one last go at landing an unmanned rocket, after it had been to space, before the year was out.
It was Christmas week and, while many people were finishing up work, getting their final bits of shopping done or pulling on a jumper and hitting a dozen pubs, a bunch of scientists were staring at monitors, hoping and praying for one last time in 2015.
After a few messy crashes, and one or two incredible near-misses, the Falcon 9 successfully put 11 satellites into orbit and flew back down to Earth, opening its landing legs and resting, successfully, at Cape Canaveral.
11 satellites deployed to target orbit and Falcon has landed back at Cape Canaveral. Headed to LZ-1. Welcome back, baby!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2015
This was the first attempt to land on ground, rather than a floating barge and, after delaying the mission by 24 hours because, as SpaceX puts it, there was a “10pc better chance of a successful landing”, history was made.
Now the Falcon 9 is back in the hangar, sitting pretty, waiting for its next mission.
Millions of dollars spent on a mission that, over time, will result in far higher sums being saved as the rocket remains one of the costliest pieces of kit with regards space missions.
Now that rockets can be reused, expect to see a new wave of projects in the future.
Now the company has packaged the whole event into three short minutes, with Incubus blaring throughout, showing the take-off, the satellites being distributed in space, the landing and an awful lot of scientists going crazy.
It’s remarkable how so many of those involved seem incredibly young, it must be said. Check out the video, it’s pretty impressive.
Rocket landing image via SpaceX on Flickr