The primary mission of SpaceX’s launch was to deliver the THAICOM 8 commercial satellite into a supersynchronous transfer orbit. The satellite will eventually be “reduced” to a circular geostationary orbit of about 35,800 kilometers. THAICOM 8 weighs approximately 3,000 kg and has been designed to last at least 15 years.
After successfully completing its primary mission, the Falcon 9 began its descent back to earth, and we must give some props to SpaceX for actually providing us onboard footage of the landing (Blue Origin provided similar footage for its most recent landing). Check out the amazing footage below:
While the landing was a success, the Falcon 9 rocket was pushed to the edge with regards to its design limits. As a result, it’ll be a huge accomplishment if it makes it back to port in one piece according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk:
Crush core is aluminum honeycomb for energy absorption in the telescoping actuator. Easy to replace (if Falcon makes it back to port).— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 27, 2016
With that being said, SpaceX has proven time and time again that it has a pretty good handle on “sticking the landing” with Falcon 9. What SpaceX really needs to prove now is that it can refurbish these rockets so that they’re capable of returning to space in subsequent missions. After all, that’s the endgame for SpaceX in its efforts to help reduce the cost of sending cargo, and eventually humans into space.
Besides, SpaceX is already running out of space in its Cape Canaveral hanger to store all of these Falcon 9 rockets…