SpaceX successfully launched a replacement batch of its Starlink satellites on Monday morning, but the primary stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that put them in orbit missed its landing on a floating platform stumped. It’s the primary time that’s happened in almost four years; the last time Falcon 9 booster did not land on one among SpaceX’s drone ships was in June 2016.
To be sure, SpaceX has lost a couple of rocket boosters since then. The corporate has lost the middle core of the three-core Falcon Heavy two out of 3 times therein rocket’s first few launches. A Falcon 9 booster also missed the landing pad at Cape Canaveral in December 2018, spiraling into the ocean instead after a failure with one among the gridded fins that stabilize its descent. SpaceX has also not attempted landings on a few dozen missions since that 2016 miss — something it always does when the missions require the rocket to succeed in higher velocities that make landings harder.
SpaceX’s run of successful landings has been a boon for its business. The more rocket stages it recovers, the more it can reuse for future flights. (This booster, as an example, made its fourth flight on Monday.) Reusing rockets maybe thanks to lower the huge cost of going to space. Not only has SpaceX gotten specialized at catching and reusing its rocket stages, but it’s also doing it faster than ever. The rocket launched Monday was last used just 72 days ago, meaning the private spaceflight company almost broke the record for the fastest turnaround held by NASA’s spacecraft.
It’s not yet clear what happened during Monday’s attempted landing. On the printed, all that would be seen was a puff of smoke or steam to the side of the drone ship, indicating that the Falcon 9 booster missed the platform by a reasonably wide margin. “We clearly didn’t make the landing this point,” Lauren Lyons, one among SpaceX’s engineers, said on the printed. what’s clear, though, is that SpaceX has fully flipped the perception of its sea landings. the corporate struggled with the primary few attempts back in 2015, losing a variety of rocket boosters stumped. Now, they’ve become another a part of the company’s regular routine.