Another opportunity to test a sea landing for the company, as SpaceX is preparing a launch at the end of February that will take the SES-9 satellite into orbit. The problem will, once again, be the landing.
- SpaceX will be making another attempt at landing Falcon 9 on the sea
- Falcon 9 will be taking SES-9 satellite into orbit
- It’s possible that the lack of fuel will force a sea landing
- SpaceX has not made one successful landing of their rocket at sea
SpaceX has been conducting several tests on their Falcon 9, recently seeing a part success with their operations. Their rocket blasted off, guiding the Jason-3 satellite into the orbit, from where it will be monitoring the waters of our planet. The mission, however, was only a part success. SpaceX made another attempt at sea landing, trying to maneuver the rocket back on a barge in the middle of the ocean.
Like the other two attempts before it, it was a failure. Falcon 9 tipped over and landed into the waters with an explosion. Even though their rocket was successful at stabilizing itself on land, the sea has posed as a bit of a challenge. However, SpaceX seems determined to make it happen. They want the extra caution and know that, in the future, astronauts will be brought back safely to Earth in case of urgent situations. One such dire scenario is when the rocket will not have enough fuel to come back to land.
Such will be the situation on February 24th, after SpaceX will drive the SES-9 satellite into orbit. It’s likely that the Falcon 9 rocket will use up all its fuel on the first part of the mission. But, once the satellite is safe and functioning, there’s the issue of a return. Without much fuel for a proper, stable landing on solid mass, SpaceX will attempt another one at sea. The chances of success? Around 50/50.
History would tip the scale toward failure, but, hopefully, that will not be the case once again. The slightest glitch and malfunction could result in another explosion at sea. One mistake and it’s a failure. “Anything that can go wrong, will. At the worst possible moment.” states Murphy’s law, but it’s in their hopes that it will not be the case.
The satellite will weigh around 11,700 pounds to be blasted off above our planet on board of Falcon 9. Satellite fleet operator, SES, praised SpaceX’s willingness to skip an attempted recovery of the rocket’s first stage for the purpose of getting their satellite up into orbit faster. The goal was to reduce the waiting time by a month until SES-9 will begin generating revenue.
Karim Michael Sabbagh, SES’s Chief Executive, stated that SpaceX has shown the precise flexibility in scheduling that they’re looking for in a launch service provider. Hopefully, that won’t cost them another failed landing.
Falcon 9 will be blasting off with the SES-9 satellite on February 24th, 2016, from Cape Canaveral.
Image source: spacex.com