Science

SpaceX meant to expend its rocket, ends up landing it

02 Feb 2018 | By Bhavika Bhuwalka

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which was supposed to be dispensed into the ocean after its launch, has "amazingly" survived its fall and is currently floating intact in the Atlantic Ocean.

Usually, SpaceX tries to land its reusable Falcon 9 rockets on either ground landing pads or autonomous drone ships in the ocean, but this time it had announced that the rocket won't be recovered.

In context: SpaceX rocket surprisingly lands, floats in the ocean

02 Feb 2018SpaceX meant to expend its rocket, ends up landing it

SpaceX to now tow the rocket back to shore

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The rocket was returning after launching a government satellite

ContextThe rocket was returning after launching a government satellite

Earlier this week, SpaceX carried a communications satellite for the government of Luxembourg on its Falcon 9 rocket.

The reusable rocket was able to successfully deploy the satellite, called GovSat-1, in the Earth's geostationary transfer orbit.

The satellite, which is reportedly resilient to attacks, will be used to provide secure communications and surveillance to the military.

MotiveThe rocket was being tested for a high-powered landing technique

Once the rocket survived in the ocean, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed that he was actually testing a high-powered landing technique and was prepared to lose the rocket in the process.

Earlier, it was being speculated that the company doesn't want to recover the rocket because launching the satellite into a high orbit would mean insufficient fuel for landing back.

The rocket successfully landed without a drone ship

The Falcon 9 sincerely followed all the steps of landing. It re-ignited its engines three times, a procedure meant for a smooth landing on a drone ship. This provides the rocket a series of landing burns to be able to lower itself down gently.