Space X and Blue Origin have locked horns continuously over the past couple of years to execute the perfect rocket landing and thus make a rocket reusable. Recently, both have accomplished a landing each and were brimming with confidence especially Space X since it had done a more practical version of it. But, the world’s biggest private space contractor has taken a blow once again as its sea-based landing barge operation failed and the rocket was destroyed. This time, it was a teething problem that prevented it as the landing manoeuvre had been successfully carried out.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying a satellite Jason-3 was launched into orbit under foggy skies and mild winds of 5km/h. At two minutes and thirty seconds, the first-stage shutdown was observed and the Falcon 9 rocket got separated. Fifty-five minutes after lift-off, the satellite was in position and will be used by USNOAA, NASA, the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) for a combined purpose of monitoring serious climate change. The Falcon 9 rocket meanwhile plummetted back to Earth.
As it entered the atmosphere, it first reoriented itself and underwent a boost back fuel burn to slow it down before eventually slowing down further with a full-scale re-entry burn. A set of vanes sprouted around the rocket and aimed to guide it down from the atmosphere into the barge. The engines fired for a final time at landing and the touchdown was a little rough than expected. It resulted in failure of the landing leg and even though the rocket landed and balanced, it couldn’t maintain its position and fell over.
So, the landing leg engineers will have to go probably back to the drawing board again and come up with a more robust solution. We have to eliminate all potential problems with the reusable rockets before considering them true to their name. Space X is unfazed and will probably launch another rocket in a few weeks and try it again.