SpaceX is to send off its Falcon 9 rocket into the depths of outer space approximately six months after an explosion.
SpaceX announced its plans to launch its Falcon 9 rocket on December 19th. This is its first mission after the previous rocket exploded mid-air, but that was six months ago. This rocket launching business is risky work indeed. It is precarious to say the least.
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Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, has written on Twitter that his company is in full-on mode for some static fire. This involves a launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida on December 16th. This will be followed by another launch three days later.
Aiming for Falcon rocket static fire at Cape Canaveral on the 16th and launch about three days later— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 10, 2015
The Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying 11 satellites, Reuters reports. This will be courtesy of the US company Orbcomm. These satellites will be launched into low-earth orbit. However, it was not mentioned exactly when some cargo equipment would be sent to the ISS.
The main rival of SpaceX is Orbital ATK. It too had to face trouble when its Antares rocket exploded after its launch from Virginia. Orbital ATK also managed to launch its Cygnus cargo ship to the ISS recently.
As for the Falcon 9, it exploded on June 28th and the explosion occurred about two minutes into its launch. Elon Musk has said that the explosion was due to a malfunctioning strut.
The explosion was quite a setback for the company. It had been under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. Meanwhile, the Falcon 9 which is to take off on December 19th is quite a different story. Nothing has been left to chance this time around.
The rocket is a novel version and it happens to be 30% more powerful than the former. Basically it is built to offer an improved landing process. SpaceX hopes to be able to use reusable rockets one fine day in the future.
SpaceX has tried again and again to land its rockets in a straightforward manner on the landing pad only to have seen many a rocket blow up into smithereens. The track record is dismal indeed.
This time a touchdown on land is crucial to the reputation of the company. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, who also owns a rocket company, has managed to land a New Shepard rocket in an upright position.
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And while Bezos tooted his own horn, Elon Musk and others criticized the attempt by saying that it was a low altitude rocket and so the operation was an easy one.