SpaceX Releases Cool New Video, Next Landing will be Offshore
SpaceX says its next Falcon 9 rocket landing will be at sea despite the extraordinarily successful land landing in December.
It essentially comes down to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval.
Sources say because the launch will be from California, SpaceX could not secure environmental authorization for a ground launch and landing in time.
Falcon 9 will be carrying NASA's Jason-3 Satellite and launch Sunday from Vandenberg AFB.
Mike Killian with America Space has more details about the logic behind the barge landing.
***This Sunday (Jan. 17) SpaceX is scheduled to kick off a busy 2016 space launch manifest for the United States, aiming to deliver the Jason-3 satellite to orbit from Vandenberg AFB (VAFB) in Southern California for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and France. The Earth-observing satellite is being mated atop SpaceX’s Falcon-9 v1.1 rocket today, already sealed within its bullet-like protective payload fairing as operations continue toward a Sunday launch attempt from Space Launch Complex 4 East, currently targeting a 30-second launch window at 10:42 a.m. PST (1:42 p.m. EST).
The mission will also give SpaceX an opportunity to attempt another booster landing, but on an offshore barge instead of solid ground, and the company intends to do so for their next few missions, not just Jason-3. Falcon 9 first stage approaches SpaceX's offshore ASDS in the Atlantic Ocean after successfully launching CRS-6 to the International Space Station, April 14, 2015 Photo Credit: SpaceX/Ben Cooper
Falcon 9 first stage approaches SpaceX’s offshore ASDS in the Atlantic Ocean after successfully launching CRS-6 to the International Space Station, April 14, 2015 Photo Credit: SpaceX/Ben Cooper
Launch and mission managers concluded their Flight Readiness Review (FRR) on Friday, Jan. 8, giving a unanimous GO to proceed toward launch. This cleared the way for SpaceX to conduct a standard static test fire “practice countdown,” with the rocket sitting atop its launch pad and lighting up all nine of its Merlin engines for 7 seconds on Monday, Jan. 11, with no problems reported.
The launch will come a month after SpaceX closed out America’s 2015 launch manifest with a very successful “Return to Flight” mission from Cape Canaveral, Fla., which delivered 11 Orbcomm OG-2 satellites to orbit atop SpaceX’s new and improved Falcon “Full Thrust” rocket, a highly modified and upgraded version of their evolvable Falcon-9. The satellites were delivered as planned, but SpaceX made history that night when they landed the rocket’s first stage back at Cape Canaveral 10 minutes after liftoff. ***