SpaceX CEO releases Falcon 9 first stage landing photos
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX ) CEO and Founder Elon Musk shared photos of the Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage landing attempt with fans on Twitter. This particular attempt took place on Jan. 10, 2015, shortly after the booster’s stage had completed its part in lofting a Dragon spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station on the fifth operational flight under the $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract. It turns out that, contrary to prior statements, SpaceX managed to get both stills and video from the attempt.
Elon Musk released the following photos on Twitter, saying “Turns out we recovered some impact video footage from the drone ship. It’s kinda begging to be released.”
Previously released images of the autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS), showed the ship sustained minor damage after the Falcon first stage made a hard landing on Jan. 10. SpaceX has a full launch calendar this year and plans to make many more landing attempts. Once successful, they will have achieved a major milestone on the path to rocket reusability.
In order to assist with the landing attempt, engineers added grid fins to the first stage booster. Following the landing attempt, data showed the fins ran out of hydraulic fluid needed to land properly. The next Falcon flight will contain 50 percent more hydraulic fluid for the grid fins, and the company is hopeful that landing attempt will be successful.
Prior to the Jan. 10 landing attempt, the NewSpace company has made several attempts at oceanic soft landings. Once the company believes it has mastered an oceanic pad landing, the company plans to land on solid ground at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 13 (SLC-13).
Stunning SpaceX video of landing on Vine – it can be viewed here: Hard Landing
Video courtesy of SpaceX
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