After pulling off two drone ship landings in three days, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took a moment to share the second landing — through some thick fog in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California — via a sped-up video that makes the whole thing seem rather routine.
While SpaceX missions — which were jaw-dropping when the first Falcon 9s landed on drone ships a little more than a year ago — now sort of feel both thrilling and boring, Musk’s company upped the ante this past weekend, sending up and safely bringing back down onto drone ships two rockets in three days, off each coast, NBD.
The twenty-second video below shows the Falcon 9 seemingly plop down on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions (here’s more on that strange name):
SpaceX hasn’t released a photo of it landing on the drone ship from a point of view other than that of the rocket. But here’s it on the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California Sunday morning. It is big:
What’s next for the busy rocket company? That’d be the Intelsat 35e mission, set for Sunday, July 2, which will put a video and broadband satellite into orbit. The mission launches from Kennedy Space Center and the launch window opens at 7:36 p.m. But don’t expect a cool drone ship landing this weekend: The weight — 6.6 tons — of the Intelsat 35e satellite means much of the rocket’s fuel will be used getting off the ground, meaning there won’t be enough fuel to get back to Earth. The booster will plop into the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday night.
SpaceX’s next drone ship landing attempt will likely be on August 10 when the Falcon 9 sends up the Dragon cargo vessel for a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.