So, Falcon 9 successfully made a successful liftoff and Dragon is currently already docked with the ISS! Good news! But wait, it gets even better, the First Stage landing back in the Atlantic Ocean (a first of its kind!) was GOOD!!! SpaceX will release more details in the coming days, but what they have up to now is that the MECO 1 (Main Engine Cut Off) happened at around 100km altitude and then Falcon 9’s First Stage flew back and attempted a successful splash down in the Atlantic Ocean. On board computers gave telemetry for another 8 seconds after splash down. They even made a video (that’s what they said, but I couldn’t find it yet) of the descent!
Why is recovering the First Stage of the rocket so important? Because the main expenses in a launch to space comes from the vehicle rendered obsolete after it did its job to deliver the cargo to space. You essentially build the same rocket over and over again for each flight and that’s expensive! The analogy for this is to throw away your airplane or car (or horse if you are riding one) every time you use it. You can understand that’s simply impractical! So, SpaceX are on their way to produce a Reusable rocket and what we saw on April 8 is one of the milestones they achieved on their way to make human space flight a lot more affordable (and going to Mars in that line of thoughts) !!
Back to CRS-3, you can watch them all in a chronological order here: (I made a separate post for them, because they are so worth watching and SpaceX Live Webcasts are so entertaining!!)
And here are several images from different stages of the whole CRS-3 mission.
If you want to know more about the 2.5 tons of cargo that Dragon is delivering to the ISS – science experiments, etc., scroll down…
by Tihomir Dimitrov
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Stocktrek Images - The Spacex Dragon Cargo Craft Prior to Being Released from the Canadarm2 Peel and Stick Wall Decal by Wallmonkeys