Find us on Google+

Offshore barge landing targeted after next Falcon 9 launch

The first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is pictured after landing at Cape Canaveral following a Dec. 21 launch with 11 satellites. Credit: SpaceX

The first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is pictured after landing at Cape Canaveral following a Dec. 21 launch with 11 satellites. Credit: SpaceX

Nearly a month after nailing a landing a rocket landing at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX plans to steer the next flight of a Falcon 9 booster toward a recovery vessel in the Pacific Ocean after a Jan. 17 blastoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

SpaceX has tried landing the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on an ocean-going barge two times in the Atlantic Ocean following launches from Cape Canaveral, but the booster was unable to make a smooth touchdown on either attempt.

An unprecedented flyback maneuver after a Dec. 21 liftoff from Florida ended with a successful descent to a landing zone SpaceX leases from the U.S. Air Force a few miles south of the Falcon 9’s Cape Canaveral launch pad, giving the entrepreneurial space transportation company a key achievement on the path toward developing and demonstrating a reusable rocket.

The dramatic landing in Florida last month will be followed on the Falcon 9’s next launch by another aim at a landing on SpaceX’s recovery barge, dubbed an autonomous spaceport drone ship by the company’s founder Elon Musk.

The launch from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4-East will carry the Jason 3 oceanography satellite into orbit. Liftoff is set for a 30-second window Jan. 17 opening at 10:42:18 a.m. PST (1:42:18 p.m. EST; 1842:18 GMT).

Jason 3 is a joint project between NOAA, the French space agency CNES, the European weather satellite agency Eumetsat, and NASA.

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

Source: Space Flight

by
Offshore barge landing targeted after next Falcon 9 launch

Posted in Whats New and tagged by with no comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *