Monday, October 07, 2013

SpaceX's Mostly Successful First Falcon 9 v.1.1 Mission

SpaceX launched their first upgraded (version 1.1) Falcon 9 on September 29th, 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission was largely successful, placing a number of satellites into orbit. A video of the launch can be seen below:

Two things so far are a bit of a mystery: (1) This new and improved Falcon 9 has a first stage capable of being recovered for re-use. Although this was only a demonstration flight of this capability (and not a full re-use scenario), there is no information out of SpaceX so far as to the success or failure of the first stage recovery; and (2) A second stage re-light and maneuvering burn was cancelled due to some problem detected in the second stage. It is not clear yet what that problem was. This presents a potential problem for SpaceX's plans to place satellites into Geo-Synchronous Orbit. SpaceX is still investigating.


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