Three days after it was launched to space, a 160-foot tall SpaceX rocket booster docked at the Port of Los Angeles. The landing barge with the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket arrived on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 17. This is the company's first mission in 2017 and also the first after the September blast.
The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket which carried 10 Iridium satellites to low space was launched on Saturday, Jan. 14. The 10 satellites are only the first batch of the 70 satellites which SpaceX needs to transport in a series of 7 launches. It is the seventh time in which the company was able to successfully land a rocket booster.
SpaceX previously emphasized its aim to reuse its rockets to reduce the cost of spaceflight. Majority of the budget is spent on building the rockets which can be used only once. "If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred. A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space," Elon Musk said according to SpaceX.
The first stage of the SpaceX rocket which landed on Los Angeles Port contains tanks for kerosene and liquid oxygen according to CBS Los Angeles. It also contains the nine engines which boosts the entire rocket and payload to space. Two and a half minutes into flight, the first and second stage of the rocket separates and the second stage continues to place the payloads in the proper orbit.
The SpaceX rocket from the mission is parked at the AltaSea marine research center and will be taken back to the company headquarters to be retooled for another flight. SpaceX plans to reuse a rocket in its SES-10 mission scheduled in February. It would be the first time the company would reuse a first stage rocket.