Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas, World

SpaceX has now successfully launched a rocket, and then brought the same rocket back down to land safely on a launching pad.  This is big. Huge. It's like a gift to the entire world, opening up another new chapter in spaceflight.

Thank you, Elon Musk, for being another atheist genius and pushing the envelope.


Why SpaceX Rocket Landing Is a Giant Leap for Space Travel

Elon Musk and his SpaceX team have edged closer to making space travel more affordable after successfully launching and returning a rocket to Earth.

Musk has said the ability to reuse a rocket -- which dramatically reduces launch cost -- is something that will help revolutionize commercial space travel.
"I think this is a critical step along the way towards being able to establish a city on Mars," Musk said on a call with reporters Monday night after the Falcon 9 successfully landed upright on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The company has previously attempted the feat three times, coming close to landing on a bull's-eye on a floating barge. The landing Monday night was the first time SpaceX tried to return the Falcon 9 to a target on land. It was also the first time a rocket successfully launched a payload into space and returned to Earth intact.
Musk has previously said he believes reusing rockets -- which cost as much as a commercial airplane -- could reduce the cost of access to space by a factor of one hundred.
While many other rockets burn up on re-entry, SpaceX designed the Falcon 9 to be able to withstand the heat and land vertically so the rocket can be used again on a future launch.
Aside from the return on land, this launch was also different since it used an upgraded Falcon 9 that stands slightly taller than predecessors at 229.6 feet and has more thrust.
The landing is a huge victory for Musk and his team, who were sidelined after the explosion of the Falcon 9 rocket in June as it carried the Dragon capsule to the International Space Station.
Last month, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and his company Blue Origin successfully launched a rocket to a test altitude of 329,839 feet and then landed it near the launch pad in Texas.

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