SpaceX Rocket Launches


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SpaceX Rocket Boosters Returning to Earth

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, more commonly called SpaceX, has helped humanity explore new reaches of technology and space. The latest launch as of October 10, 2018, was on October 7, 2018, launching the Falcon 9. Previous launches included space launch vehicles named Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon. These launch vehicles are designed to be mostly reusable. The Falcon 9 is meant to hopefully, launched, landed, and flown again for a near 100 times. Elon Musk claims that SpaceX could fly more space missions than other countries.

SpaceX believes that a completely reusable rocket could reduce the cost of space travel. Most of the cost comes from building the rocket. Compared to a commercial airliner, the Falcon 9 costs about the same as the airliner to produce but airliners can fly hundreds of times before retiring but most rockets can only fly once. The reason for this is because these rockets are made to burn up in reentry. SpaceX plans to design rockets to land back on Earth and even re-fly.

Many Californians saw the Falcon 9’s first stage land on October 7, 2018, at 10:21 P.M. ET after delivering Argentina’s SAOCOM-1A. The SAOCOM-1A weighed about 3,500 pounds and part of a future six-satellite constellation that will work with an Italian constellation known as COSMO-SkyMed. These satellite systems are meant to take high-resolution photos of Earth twice a day. However, despite the spectacular light show, on Tuesday, October 2, the Falcon 9 briefly fired its engines for a preflight test. After smoke billows out, the launch was delayed for 24 hours for checkouts. The launch date was then set to Sunday night after the Falcon 9 going through static fire test ensuring all systems were working.

Before the launch, Elon Musk tweeted “Sonic boom warning. This won’t be subtle.”. The Falcon 9 was going to reach supersonic speeds during re-entry, making 3 sonic booms. The reason for the sonic booms is that certain rocket parts create shock waves that humans can hear. At 10:40 ET, the Falcon 9 successfully landed. This was the Falcon 9’s 62nd flight and the 12th ground landing. It also marks SpaceX’s 17th launch of the year compared to last years 18. SpaceX planned to launch 24 rockets for 2018. Even though that now seems unlikely, it can still beat any other US rocket company and Russia in total launches in 2018.

In future launches, SpaceX plans to launch SAOCOM 1B in 2019. Additional launches SpaceX plans are with the Falcon Heavy, Falcon 9, and Dragon. The majority of these launches are for NASA and will launch at their Florida launch site.

SpaceX is an amazing multi-billion dollar company that has raised the bar in space travel. Their initial goal was to revolutionize space technology; their ultimate goal of the enable people to live on other planets and natural satellites such as Mars and our Moon. Hopefully, this goal will be accomplished and humans will be able to finally live somewhere that isn’t Earth.