The historic launch pad 39 A was used again, and this time for the SpaceX CRS-10 mission to deliver cargo to the international space station. On the 19th of February 2017, the Falcon 9 took off from the launch pad, delivered some cargo, and landed back at the landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral.
The Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A was used for the Apollo 11 mission back in 1969 to send the first humans to the moon. The launch pad has not been used since the space shuttle launch in 2011.
The Falcon 9 departed from the launchpad at 9:39 EST (14:39 GMT) on the morning of Sunday to deliver a supply ship without a crew to the orbit and landed back at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just 9 miles to the south of the launch pad. The landing was the first ever recovery of a rocket during daylight. On the previous day, SpaceX had made an attempt to launch the Falcon 9, which was aborted at the last minute to replace an actuator in the upper state engine.
In the next two and a half minutes after the launch, the rocket made its way to the orbit and delivered the Dragon Spacecraft which will orbit the earth for a few days till it reaches the international space station. The Merlin engine in the second stage propelled the supply ship to the orbit, and the first stage engines switched off. The Cold gas nitrogen thrusters on the first stage of the rocket, reoriented the craft so that it flew back to the landing zone ‘tail first’. After re-orientation, the main engine fired three times successively to guide the rocket back to the landing location. Having delivered the supply ship to the orbit, the Falcon 9 landed at the landing zone 1, just 8 minutes after the initial launch at 9:39 EST.
SpaceX had used its onboard cameras to give out footage of its previous experiments, clips of rocket blasts and those of its previous launches of Falcon 9 when it failed to land successfully. This time SpaceX has given out a video from a camera drone, that hovered at a distance to capture the Falcon 9 entering the Earth’s atmosphere and making its way back to the Landing Zone 1.
You may need to pinch yourself to believe that the video is not in reverse.
Just as we are accustomed, along with the video, SpaceX has released high-resolution images of the launch and landing. The cloudy weather gave the landing an even more dramatic effect.
There goes the landing.
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