SpaceX Has Successfully Landed Its 50th Rocket
Last weekend, the SpaceX crew and employees celebrated as they successfully landed the company’s 50th Falcon rocket back on Earth for the last time. Meanwhile, the Dragon capsule kept hurtling up to the International Space Station (ISS) taking fresh supplies such as fruit and sweets for the two American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut who are based at the ISS.
The Falcon rocket blasted off with 4,300 pounds (1,950 kilograms) of equipment and experiments for the International Space Station (ISS). Just minutes later, the spent first-stage booster made a dramatic midnight landing back at Cape Canaveral, its return accompanied by sonic booms.
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Whilst in space, the Dragon capsule will undertake vital science experiments whilst flying which includes an analysis of running shoe cushioning in weightlessness by Adidas, a water droplet study by Delta Faucet Co and tests on 3D models of the heart and intestinal tissue.
SpaceX engineer Jessica Anderson cheerily announced at Mission Control:
"And the Falcon has landed for the 50th time in SpaceX history!"
"What an amazing live view all the way to touchdown."
SpaceX's CEO and founder, Elon Musk said that this was the windiest launch they've ever encountered for a booster launch, with winds up to 40-45 kph (25-35 mph), however, the team still wanted to push ahead. And it's a good thing they did, as this was the 50th time a SpaceX booster has landed successfully either back on land or in water.
Musk tweeted following touchdown...
SpaceX recycles its boosters and capsules from previous flights, and this time marked the last time this Dragon cargo capsule would take flight. Since Dragon first docked with the space station in 2012, the spacecraft has delivered more than 95,000 lbs. (43,000 kg) of cargo and returned more than 76,000 lbs. (34,475 kg) of research. In the future, the company will use second-generation Dragon capsules, which will be spacier to include crew.