SpaceX Plans Drone Ship Rocket Touchdown for Jan. 17 Launch

SpaceX hopes to make historical past once more on Jan. 17 by touchdown a Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea after launching a payload into orbit. SpaceX confirmed to NBC Information that it might be making the try; the information was earlier reported by area journalist Charles Lurio on Twitter.

This launch will take off from Vandenberg Air Pressure Base in California, carrying NASA’s Jason-three satellite tv for pc. Jason-three carries devices to watch the ocean’s floor, amassing details about circulation patterns and maybe rising sea ranges.

The business spaceflight firm succeeded Dec. 22 in making its first-stage rocket, which is often discarded after reaching area, return safely to Earth and land upright at a predetermined location nears its launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

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A earlier try in January 2015 to land a Falcon 9 on a "drone ship" — an automatic seagoing touchdown platform — almost succeeded, however a final-minute failure noticed the rocket topple over and explode in spectacular style.

Associated: This is Why the SpaceX Rocket Touchdown Is Such a Huge Deal

Having a cellular touchdown platform means extra flexibility in when and the way launches can proceed — it isn’t all the time handy or potential for a rocket to return to a static website like a launch facility or different suitably flat, empty area. A cellular touchdown website might conceivably be positioned the place it’s most secure or most gasoline-environment friendly for the rocket to return down.

This won’t be the very same rocket the corporate launched final month — although SpaceX founder Elon Musk is assured that may be simply superb.

Falcon 9 again within the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No injury discovered, prepared to fireside once more. https://t.co/7w6IfJGtXM

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 1, 2016

"I feel we’ll in all probability hold this one on the bottom as a result of it is fairly distinctive, it is the primary one we introduced again," Musk stated in a convention name following December’s profitable touchdown. The corporate will "simply affirm via exams that it might fly once more after which put it someplace to show."