Although the big, scary and complex journey for the Space X Falcon 9 rocket was its launch and recovery on the drone barge earlier this month, it still had to take a trip to Space X’s facility at the Kennedy Space Centre. After many days of travel on the back of a much less impressive vehicle, that rocket has now made it back home completely, allowing Space X to begin testing to make sure it can be reused in the future.
Although Space X has built and launched many Falcon 9 rockets over the past year, this one is very special, as it’s the first to ever land successfully on the company’s drone barge. It joins one other Falcon 9 booster, which made it back for a landing pad touch-down in 2015, but since that one is being saved for posterity, this one could be the first ever re-used booster rocket.
By land and sea pic.twitter.com/C5QWfNy99r
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 20, 2016
And that journey back into space begins now. With the rocket now back at Space X’s facility, engineers can begin the lengthy testing process to see which parts need switching out and which ones are good to go for a second run. Someone will also need to wipe off all that soot too – the poor thing does look rather dirty.
Although Space X made its own announcement of the returning hero, some tourists at the Kennedy Space Centre were able to appreciate its delivery first hand, as the mammoth rocket trundled by on its rather lengthy flatbed transport.[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC3Szb5raXE’]
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KitGuru Says: It’s easy to forget how truly giant these constructions are, especially from the long-way-off shots during launch or from helicopters during ascent. Considering this is just the first stage booster too, it should put into context how big the whole space craft is.