SpaceX just made history by launching the world’s first reflight of an orbital rocket and landing its first stage on a barge again. The booster wasn’t the only part of the rocket the company recovered from the SES-10 mission, though: it also managed to land Falcon 9’s $6 million nose cone for the first time ever. A rocket’s nose cone, found at its very tip, protects its payload and makes sure it offers minimum aerodynamic resistance. Musk has announced its recovery during the post-launch press conference, calling it “the cherry on the cake.”
The SpaceX chief has revealed that the company used thrusters and steerable parachutes to guide two halves of the 16-foot-diameter cone back home. Musk and his team are hoping reusable rockets can make spaceflight a lot more affordable, so the more parts that can be reused, the better. Now that they’ve proven Falcon 9’s first stage is reusable, they’ve set their sights on another goal: to relaunch a rocket within 24 hours of its last flight.
Incredibly proud of the SpaceX team for achieving this milestone in space! Next goal is reflight within 24 hours.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2017
Wondering what happened to SES-10 since everybody keeps talking about SpaceX’s rocket landing? It has successfully made its way to its new home in geostationary orbit.
Successful deployment of SES-10 to geostationary transfer orbit confirmed. pic.twitter.com/FkVoUYSsmq
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 30, 2017
Source: Popular Science