After delays due to the weather at its Cape Canaveral launch location, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched and, historically, landed on a droneship in the ocean.
It was a first for SpaceX because it had never successfully landed coming as fast or hot on the droneship: It was moving twice as fast as a typical reentry — 2 kilometers per second instead of 1 kilometers per second — with four times as much velocity and eight times as much heat.
“We are not expecting a successful landing this time around,” said John Federspiel, lead mechanical design engineer at SpaceX, as the rocket made its descent.
The feed cut out as the rocket was coming down but after a flash of light we saw it resting on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean:
The JCSAT-14 mission will bring new communications opportunities — including Ultra HD 4K TV, and communication for emergency services in case of global devastation — to millions in Asia and the Pacific Islands if successful. The launch marks the 24th Falcon 9 rocket launch since 2010 and the first SpaceX launch for SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation. In addition, it functions as something of a technological marvel when it comes to emergency response and keeping phones capable of communications in the case of a dangerous event or terrorist attack.
Earlier this week, SpaceX engineers expressed doubt, despite the mission’s predicted success, in the Falcon 9 rocket being able to make it to its sea-based landing pad upon re-entry. The launch successfully kicked off on time at 1:21 a.m ET on Friday.
When the Falcon 9 stuck its landing back on Earth, victorious chants of “USA! USA! USA!” from SpaceX engineers again filled the livestream from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.