Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Recovered SpaceX Falcon 9 Booster Back in Hangar

Falcon 9 first stage in pad 39A hangar at Kennedy Space Center following upright landing recovery from launch on Dec. 21, 2015. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX's booster rocket, the Falcon, is back in its nest following a historic landing. The California company led by Elon Musk shared a picture of the returned booster Sunday. The used Falcon 9 is shown on its side inside a hangar at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Musk says no damage was found. “No damage found, ready to fire again,” he said.

The booster appears remarkably clean, only somewhat disheveled and blackened by soot from rocket exhaust and hypersonic speeds after blastoff and reentry and no obvious signs of damage.

The booster carried satellites aloft Dec. 21, then flew back to its specified landing zone, a first for an orbital mission. It landed upright on legs.

Musk plans to fire the booster again in a test to demonstrate rocket reusability. This particular booster won't fly again, given its significance. Another booster landing could occur as early as next month on a space station supply run for NASA.

SpaceX wants to reuse rockets to save time and money.

Sometime later this year, the booster will be rolled out from the hanger with a newly constructed transporter- erector and moved up the ramp to pad 39A. Technicians have already begun exercising the transporter- erector, practicing back and forth movements and raising the assembly to launch position.

The Falcon 9 first stage will be recycled to test out equipment, propellant loading, launch procedures and first stage ignition of the boosters upgraded Merlin 1D engines.

SpaceX is refurbishing pad 39A under a long term lease from NASA for use as a launch site starting in 2016 for the firms Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 vehicles.

Credit: APuniversetoday.com

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