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Watch SpaceX nail its 250th Falcon 9 drone ship touchdown

SpaceX has efficiently landed its Falcon 9 booster on a drone ship for the 250th time.

The first stage of the corporate’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket made a flawless touchdown on the Just Read the Instructions drone ship about eight minutes after launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday. A video (under) captured the second that the booster — this one making its ninth landing — arrived on the floating platform within the Atlantic Ocean.

Falcon 9’s first stage lands on Just Read the Instructions, finishing our 250th droneship touchdown pic.twitter.com/TOeTB1RGDr

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 20, 2024

SpaceX has two choices for touchdown its Falcon 9 booster — both again on the launch web site or on one in all its three drone ships. The latter technique is used when the rocket doesn’t have sufficient gas to get it again to the launch web site, which depends upon the form of mission that it’s endeavor. The firm made its first profitable Falcon 9 touchdown at Kennedy in December 2015 and its first flawless drone ship touchdown 4 months later. Early efforts generally noticed the booster topple over and explode simply after touching down, however the group has now nailed the touchdown process.

Landing the first-stage boosters on this manner — as an alternative of in water — is central to SpaceX’s spaceflight system because it permits the corporate to rapidly refurbish them for one more flight, serving to it to scale back the price of orbital missions. Some of the Falcon 9 boosters have launched on as many as 20 missions thus far, often carrying small satellites for deployment in low-Earth orbit.

The Elon Musk-led firm is now aiming to switch its data to its next-generation and far bigger Starship rocket, although the touchdown technique shall be a bit totally different as SpaceX is hoping to “catch” the booster utilizing big mechanical arms simply seconds from landing, reasonably than have the booster contact the bottom. The Starship has been on 4 take a look at flights thus far, however the fifth take a look at, which could take place in July, would be the first to attempt the “catching” technique.

Thursday’s flight launched a European TV satellite tv for pc into orbit as a part of the SES ASTRA 1P mission. It was the ninth flight of the first-stage booster, which beforehand launched Ax-2, Euclid, Ax-3, CRS-30, and 4 Starlink missions. The mission was alleged to get underway on Tuesday, however was postponed attributable to issues in regards to the climate situations on the launch web site.

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