SpaceX's Falcon 9 Drone Ship Landing Footage Released! [WATCH]
After some explosive failures in 2015, the space exploration company SpaceX landed its Falcon 9 unmanned rocket on an autonomous drone-ship on May 27, 2016, continuing a series of three successful sea landings.
The launch took place from Space Launch Complex 40 on Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the initial launch date of May 26 was delayed due to technical difficulties.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that a "glitch in the motion of an upper stage engine actuator" was the issue, The Verge reported. Musk claimed it did not pose a flight risk but needed to be investigated.
The purpose of the mission was to launch the rocket's payload, a THAICOM-8 telecommunications satellite, into orbit for the Thai communications company, Thaicom, SpaceX reported.
THAICOM-8 is the company's fifth satellite, built by American aerospace manufacturer Orbital ATK, with the purpose of strengthening Thaicom's broadcast platform and providing Ku-band frequency satellite coverage to Southeast Asia, according to Orbital ATK.
After the THAICOM-8 was deployed, approximately 32 minutes after liftoff, the rocket's first stage engaged in an experimental landing on the drone ship "Of Course I Still love You" -- named after the sci-fi novel "The Player of Games," according to SpaceX.
See the delivery of the rocket to the Florida base below.
Falcon 9's first stage is the 14-story fuselage that houses the rocket's fuel and engines, and it posed landing problems due to the battering forces of physics most rockets experience.
Within the first minute of the launch, Falcon 9 underwent "Max Q" which is an engineering measurement for the highest level of aerodynamic stress on the body of the rocket, SpaceX reported.
Following deployment of its payload, Falcon 9 had to re-enter Earth's atmosphere. SpaceX claimed, "As with other missions going to geostationary orbits, the first stage will be subject to extreme velocities and re entry heating, making a successful landing challenging."
Even with delays and extreme forces on Falcon 9, the mission was a success. The series of launches has solidified SpaceX's role in commercial space applications.
Watch the footage from the Falcon 9 mission below.