The news coming from SpaceX headquarters just keeps getting better. And, this news is amazing. Over the June 23-25 weekend, they successfully launched TWO Falcon 9‘s into space and recovered both on their automated landing barge. All of this in 48 hours.
The missions were for clients Bulgaria Sat and Iridium, a ‘global satellite telecommunications provider’ according to tech crunch.com. The latter carried 10 of 75 planned satellites that Iridium will launch into space. But, the payloads are not the most notable thing about this story. Falcon 9 is reusable. In fact, the Falcon 9 that was used for Bulgaria Sat on this mission, was used for Iridium’s last mission. And, despite rough seas, BOTH Falcon 9 first stage units were successfully recovered on SpaceX’s ‘autonomous ocean-borne landing barge.’ SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, remarked about the repositioning of the autonomous craft to adjust for the conditions saying, “that the drone ship “Just Read The Instructions” had to be repositioned at a late stage due to extreme weather conditions, which would result in less chance of a successful recovery.”
Closeup of the titanium grid fins. Not painted, as they glow red hot during a fast reentry. pic.twitter.com/Ltrq1Prg2m
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 25, 2017
What’s more, is that these Falcon 9’s were equipped with a new grid fin system, that they hadn’t used before. The grid fins help steer the Falcon 9 as it returns to Earth and it’s preferred landing spot. The grid fins are made of solid titanium which “allow SpaceX to reuse without any refurbishment required, lessening the time and money cost of relaunches further still.” All of this with eyes on Mars, where a cheap reusable flight system will be necessary. Yes. We live in the future.