Unreal: Video Of SpaceX's First Successful Booster Landing On Floating Barge

April 11, 2016

spacex-successful-landing.jpg

This is a short video of SpaceX successfully landing the first stage of one of its Falcon 9 rockets on a droneship floating in the Atlantic Ocean. It's so spectacular it doesn't even look real. The idea is that landing and refurbishing the boosters will cut down on costs significantly, because building new boosters is expensive. I'm not sure what the difference in cost is, but I imagine it's in the hundreds. Maybe even low thousands. "Try millions." MILLIONS?! Space is expensive. Over the weekend I was reading an article on the feasibility of building a space elevator and all I could think about was how much it would suck to get in and realize the person before you had pushed the button for every floor before they got out.

Keep going for the video.

Thanks to everyone who sent this, all of whom are invited to join my space crew and blast off for worlds unknown.

  • Stevedave

    Well now I just want to play lunar lander all day... http://moonlander.seb.ly/

  • alainmartel

    Impressive but uselessly costly.
    When working, a rocket need a LOT of fuel. You need to bring that fuel into orbit. You need more fuel to bring that fuel into orbit. All that additional fuel cost a lot of money.
    The bigger boosters and aditional fuel needed to take off, added to the higher cost of reuseable boosters, will ultimately cose more than single use boosters.

  • Ranzer

    consider the cost of recovered materials outside of must fuel. rockets cost millions of dollars the fuel is just a portion of that.

  • alainmartel

    The small rocket used in this demostration probably cost more than the fuel used. The flight controller taking a large part of that cost.
    But, you must look at a real, orbit reatching, rocket. Here, the rocket to fuel cost ratio is hugely different.
    The body of the rocket costs only a few $1000 and can contain over $1000000 of propergols. The propergols are the actual fuel and the oxydiser, usualy, liquid oxygen. In the case of the famous Saturn V, the fuel actualy counted for almost all of the launch costs.
    The cotliest part is the rocket engine itself, but it barely exceed the cost of the body for a non-reuseable rocket.
    For a reuseable rocket, you must also add the refurbishing costs between launches. Also, the cost of the rocket engines is also much higher as it must withstant multiple uses.
    The more mass you send up, the more fuel you need. The amount of fuel needed increase exponentialy with the mass as you need more fuel to lift the added fuel.

    Next, don't forget that you may need to provide your reuseable rocket with some kind of heat shield. That also add to the weight AND cost. You don't need any heat shield for a first stage rocket, but, for the second or third stage, you can't leave that out.

  • Bad Habit

    And to think what a waste the Space Shuttle must have been.
    And they kept building the things!

    ::facepalm::

    Could you be a bigger imbecile?

    This isn't meant to send a huge orbiter/lander to the moon like the Saturn Vs.
    It is just meant to get small payloads in to low earth orbit.

    You appear to have just enough knowledge to know absolutely nothing on the subject you are talking about.

    Leave the rocket science to the actual rocket scientists because you are a blithering, bloviated moron.

  • alainmartel

    The Space shuttle a waste? Absolutely! To big, heavy and complex. Try to do everything and barely adequate to it's mission.
    Why they kept building it? Political pressure and the planed lack of other alternatives. It was a case of to early to ask questions going straight to to late to change anything.

    In the shuttle case, it would have been more efficient and cheaper to keep some one use launchers to lift up the cargo, and have a small and reusable space taxi made solely to carry peoples.
    By the way, during the Shuttle era, the USA launched more stuff using conventional rockets , mostly foreign ones for the first half of that period, than using the Shuttle. At the end, they progressively got back to using conventional rockets.

    Imagine building the ISS using Saturn V third stages, or even second stages. It could have been built in a few months, as opposed to several years, and be much more spacious. It would also have cost significantly less. The old Space lab was made of a single Saturn V's third stage and it's section was almost twice that of the ISS that was limited by the Shuttle very limited cargo space.

  • Bad Habit

    Took you a month to come up with that weak reply?

    Where to begin......
    They DIDN'T "keep building them"; they built a little over half what the program originally intended
    We won't even visit the economics of flying spacecraft designed for 10 flights in excess of 25 [with one notable exception].

    Hell! Discovery made 39 flights!

    All in all, not a bad return on the investment in my book.

    AND it is a design STILL being used by the Air Force and CIA for their military satellite missions.

    Btw; the Saturn V wasn't designed or built to be used as individual pieces. It was a SINGLE MACHINE, working in concert.
    To use any one part as a stand-alone substitution, as you naively suggest, would basically require a complete redesign from the ground up to use it as such.

    Which is basically what the Obama administration has been pushing for and funding the last 7 years with NASA's heavy launch vehicle program.

    So, like I said above.....
    You appear to have just enough knowledge to know absolutely nothing on the subject you are talking about.

    Leave the rocket science to the actual rocket scientists because you are a blithering, bloviated moron...... who spent a month of wasted research coming up with a weak retort.

  • Dsembr

    I'm sure SpaceX will be kicking themselves when they find out how expensive this is going to be. I can't believe they developed this whole system for recovering boosters for the sake of saving money without actually doing the math themselves. I expect you'll be contacted for a position post-haste.

  • Hazakabammer

    Wait, what? Droneship? A boat that drives itself? Coooooooool.

  • The_Wretched

    Great but how do they secure the rocket? Otherwise, one big swell and that puppy is going for a swim.

  • Stohkel

    Atlantic Ocean...185 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean.

    Still amazing landing!

  • Tyguy

    What's your point?

  • Hazakabammer

    I think he might be saying something about the winds and water, I mean- they could've built a launch facility anywhere in the country and they chose Florida. Must be some meteorological reasoning behind that, like lower winds or something.

  • Frédéric Purenne

    So smooth if it wasn't for the smoke I would have thought it was a video played backward. Only a small bump on the pad. Most impressive.

  • Big McLargehuge

    Any yet they still haven't introduced a USB cable that isn't ALWAYS upside down.

  • Ranzer

    USB 3.1 Type C connector ;) look it up

  • Daniel

    Actually, USB tech is far more advanced. Is uses a quantum superposition state, it is both right side up, and upside down until you look at it.

  • Étienne Pelletier

    very clever

  • Munihausen

    Impressive.

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