Space

SpaceX's new high-res images get up close and personal with historic rocket landing

SpaceX's new high-res images g...
After delivering 11 communications satellites into low Earth orbit for the Orbcomm-2 mission, the booster re-entered the atmosphere and made its historic touchdown at Landing Zone 1
After delivering 11 communications satellites into low Earth orbit for the Orbcomm-2 mission, the booster re-entered the atmosphere and made its historic touchdown at Landing Zone 1
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If the feat can be repeated and previously launched boosters can be used again, it would mean big things for space exploration by greatly reducing the costs involved
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If the feat can be repeated and previously launched boosters can be used again, it would mean big things for space exploration by greatly reducing the costs involved
Safe and sound
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Safe and sound
The Falcon 9 first stage rocket touching down at Landing Zone 1
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The Falcon 9 first stage rocket touching down at Landing Zone 1
This long-exposure photo shows the Falcon 9's return trip to space
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This long-exposure photo shows the Falcon 9's return trip to space
After delivering 11 communications satellites into low Earth orbit for the Orbcomm-2 mission, the booster re-entered the atmosphere and made its historic touchdown at Landing Zone 1
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After delivering 11 communications satellites into low Earth orbit for the Orbcomm-2 mission, the booster re-entered the atmosphere and made its historic touchdown at Landing Zone 1
The Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral
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The Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral
The Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral
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The Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral
The Falcon 9 first stage rocket touching down at Landing Zone 1
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The Falcon 9 first stage rocket touching down at Landing Zone 1
The Falcon 9 first stage rocket touching down at Landing Zone 1
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The Falcon 9 first stage rocket touching down at Landing Zone 1
This long-exposure photo shows the Falcon 9's return trip to space
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This long-exposure photo shows the Falcon 9's return trip to space
SpaceX made history yesterday, successfully landing a first stage rocket booster after carrying cargo into space
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SpaceX made history yesterday, successfully landing a first stage rocket booster after carrying cargo into space
Landing Zone 1 at Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
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Landing Zone 1 at Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

SpaceX made history yesterday, successfully landing a first stage rocket booster after carrying cargo into space. If you caught this landmark event live, or in the near aftermath, then chances are it was via the exhilarating but distant SpaceX stream. The company has now released a set of high-res images offering a more detailed look at its achievement.

The collection of images document a period of around 10 minutes after SpaceX's Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster first launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. After delivering 11 communications satellites into low Earth orbit for the Orbcomm-2 mission, the booster re-entered the atmosphere and made its historic touchdown at Landing Zone 1.

The Falcon 9 first stage rocket touching down at Landing Zone 1
The Falcon 9 first stage rocket touching down at Landing Zone 1

If the feat can be repeated and previously launched boosters can be used again, it would mean big things for space exploration by greatly reducing the costs involved. Musk says that each Falcon 9 rocket costs US$60 million, while the propellant for each launch costs $200,000 or so. "The potential cost reduction over the long term is probably in excess of a factor of 100." Musk told reporters following Monday's launch.

The future for this particular rocket might not be so action-packed, however. Although SpaceX will carry out testing on the Falcon 9 to ensure everything is still in working order, Musk is quoted as saying it most likely won't fly again. "I think that we will probably keep this one on the ground, just because it's kind of unique, it's the first one that we have brought back."

You can click through to the photo gallery for a closer look at SpaceX's watershed moment.

This long-exposure photo shows the Falcon 9's return trip to space
This long-exposure photo shows the Falcon 9's return trip to space

Source: SpaceX via Flickr

1 comment
FrankR
I have been privileged in my lifetime to have seen the progress of manned spaceflight carry through from the Gemini programs to the Space Shuttles. Now SpaceX has achieved a quantum leap in progress that makes the comparison between the Falcon 9 and , say, the Apollo spacecraft, not unlike the comparison between a British Halifax bomber of the second world war era and a contemporary stealth bomber. Except for purpose, there is barely any comparison available! Absolutely brilliant contribution to the art of Rocket Science. All at SpaceX have done an awesome job, and to have recovered from mid years disaster with such incredible style as this, is almost beyond words. No wonder there was wild applause and screams when the Falcon 9 touched down!! 10/10 SpaceX!