Overnight, SpaceX attempted to make its most audacious rocket landing yet on a drone ship. Amazingly, it succeeded.
Last month, SpaceX managed to land a Falcon 9 rocket on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You after a resupply mission to the ISS. But this time round the rocket was set for a geostationary transfer orbit, which would expose it to higher velocities and greater re-entry heating on its way back down. SpaceX had admitted that it was “unlikely” that the landing would be a repeat success—then it went ahead and nailed it anyway.
The rocket was carrying a JCSAT-14 communications satellite into space, which was successfully deployed by the Falcon 9 rocket.
The successful landing from a faster re-entry is another milestone for SpaceX, which aims to land and re-use as many of its rockets as possible. Clearly, it’s getting quite good at it—and Elon Musk has tweeted that his company “may need to increase size of [its] rocket storage hangar.”