SpaceX - ORBICOMM-2 Mission logo.
December 21, 2015
Image above: First OG1 Mission lift off from SpaceX's launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida (archive image).
On December 21, 2015 at 8:10pm ET, a SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.2 rocket successfully launched 11 communications satellites for Orbcomm. This marks the company's return to flight after a faulty strut caused the June 28 explosion of the CRS-7 Falcon 9.
Falcon 9 OrbComm OG2 launch & Successful First Rocket Landing
This launch was the 20th overall launch of the Falcon 9 family. Another successful event that occurred during this flight was the boostback of the first stage and its eventual landing on Landing Complex 1 at Cape Canaveral.
First look at our massive new Landing Zone 1
The launch is part of ORBCOMM's second and final OG2 Mission and will lift off from SpaceX's launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
This mission also marks the first time SpaceX attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on land. The landing orockets so they can be re-used was a secondary test objective. Has much broader implications for the future of space travel. If Elon Musk and Co. can develop reusable rockets, it’ll drastically drive down the cost of launching stuff into orbit and usher in a new era for space travel.
Successful First Falcon 9 rocket landing
Right now, getting stuff up into space is ridiculously expensive. It varies from launch to launch, but costs typically range from about $5,000 to $15,000 per pound. That makes putting things into orbit prohibitively expensive for smaller companies that don’t have deep pockets. If SpaceX can figure out this reusable rocket thing though, it’ll lower the cost of entry for anyone and everyone looking to get something into space. The proverbial floodgates will be open, and in a few years time, space will be like the wild west — filled with opportunities for anyone brave or enterprising enough to go there.
SpaceX has been working on reusable rockets for years now, and while it hasn’t managed to safely bring one back down from orbit quite yet, it’s getting closer and closer with each attempt. Musk and Co. have experienced their fair share of setbacks, but now the company is back with a new-and-improved Falcon 9 rocket that finally stick the landing.
For more information, visit http://www.spacex.com and http://www.orbcomm.com
Images, Video, Text, Credits: SpaceX/Günter Soace Page/Orbiter.ch Aerospace.