SpaceX Trying Ambitious 2nd Rocket Recovery Landing in 4 Weeks

SpaceX Falcon 9 completes static fire test at California pad on Jan. 11 in advance of Jason-3 launch for NASA on Jan. 17, 2016.   Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX is on course to move ahead with an ambitious spaceflight agenda, trying a 2nd rocket recovery landing of their Falcon 9 booster in barely 4 weeks time and upcoming this Sunday, Jan. 17, says Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of SpaceX.Musk confirmed that SpaceX plans to launch and subsequently land the first stage of its next Falcon 9 rocket on a “droneship” at sea this weekend. “Aiming to launch this weekend and (hopefully) land on our droneship,” Musk tweeted.The path forward follows a successful static fire test of the Falcon 9 boosters first stage engines at the firms West Coast launch pad on Monday evening, Jan. 11. Engineers are painstakingly reviewing the data today to fully confirm the rocket is healthy to launch.SpaceX is now aiming to chalk up two successful rocket launches and landings in a row – if all goes well with the liftoff of the Falcon 9 slated for Jan. 17 from Space Launch Complex 4 on Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.Just before Christmas, SpaceX successfully accomplished history’s first ever intact and upright landing recovery of an orbit class rocket with their Falcon 9 booster when it flew to the edge of space and back on Dec. 21 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.In contrast to last month’s successful soft landing on the ground at the Cape, the next landing on Sunday will be sea based attempt on an ocean going barge off the California coast bevause of the higher in flight velocity of the Falcon 9. “Ship landings needed for high velocity missions,” Musk elaborated.The primary goal of the Jan. 17 blastoff is to carry NASA’s Jason-3 Earth-observing satellite to orbit.“Next launch is a @NASA science mission from VAFB California on Sunday,” says —> Read More