On Wednesday, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its second Falcon 9 rocket of the year. It’s interesting that after launching it from Florida, the space company didn’t land the booster. Instead, it dispensed it in the ocean. However, in a surprising twist of fate, the rocket survived the landing and now it’s floating unharmed somewhere in the Atlantic. But what is the company planning to do with it now? According to what its CEO said on Twitter, they want to tow it back to shore in an attempt to salvage the rocket.
It’s worth noting that this recent launch had the purpose of sending a heavy satellite into high orbit for the Luxembourg government. Usually, when conducting such launches, SpaceX usually lands the Falcon 9 on one if their autonomous drone ships that are in the ocean. However, in this case, just before the launch, the space company announced that it wouldn’t try to recover the rocket. It was a surprising decision, seeing how this rocket has landed safely before. While SpaceX didn’t offer a clear reason for this decision, there is some speculation going around.
SpaceX’s second Falcon 9 launch
This rocket was meant to test very high retrothrust landing in water so it didn’t hurt the droneship, but amazingly it has survived. We will try to tow it back to shore. pic.twitter.com/hipmgdnq16
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 31, 2018
It seems that this particular Falcon 9 was actually an older version of the rocket. So, the company might have wanted to get rid of it. Apart from this, the company probably needed the drone ship in Florida for next week’s Falcon Heavy launch.
However, even if it wasn’t going to land normally, on a ship, the rocket still went through all the landing processes. In another tweet, Elon Musk revealed that the Falcon 9 was testing a different, high powered landing technique. Because of this, the company found it better to avoid hurting any drone ships during its fall. Clearly, SpaceX didn’t expect it survive either but fortunately, it has already figured out a way to recover it from the ocean.
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