Relive the first SpaceX space shuttle landing exactly 8 years ago

SpaceX / SpaceX

It was exactly eight years ago that SpaceX achieved something remarkable when it landed the upright prop Falcon 9 for the first time.

It was no mean feat. One of those present at SpaceX headquarters on the night of the historic mission compared it to “like dropping a pencil over the Empire State Building, letting it back up, coming back down and landing on a shoebox on the ground in a windstorm.” “

The achievement was a giant leap forward for SpaceX’s mission to create a reusable system for spaceflight significantly reduce costs orbital missions, increasing access to space for more companies and organizations that want to deploy satellites or conduct research in space.

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The video below, released by SpaceX on Thursday, includes the moment the company touched down on its first booster landing in 2015.

Eight years ago today, SpaceX successfully landed an orbital-class rocket for the first time. Since then, SpaceX has landed Falcon rockets more than 250 times and counting pic.twitter.com/r8pAfMQxiU

—SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 21, 2023

It took SpaceX five years and 20 flights to achieve the first upright landing of a returning Falcon 9 booster. On some landing attempts, the 41.2-meter-tall vehicle touched down before tipping over and exploding, while at other times the booster was intentionally dropped into the ocean without tried to land with him.

The first successful landing was on a land pad, but after that SpaceX also wanted the ability to land a drone ship in the ocean. The first attempt in January 2016 failed, as did the following one in March of the same year. But SpaceX learned from its mistakes and achieved its first drone landing in April 2016.

Since then, SpaceX has managed the vast majority of its Falcon 9 landings on both land and water, with the most recent failure occurring in February 2021.

To date, Falcon 9 rockets have flown 281 times and completed 239 landings, enabling a total of 214 repeat flights. One of its first stage boosters has flown an equally impressive 18 times, with many others also still in use for multiple missions.

In addition to carrying satellites into space, the Falcon 9 is also involved in cargo and astronaut mission to the International Space Station. The successful spaceflight system also paved the way for the development of the larger Falcon Heavy rocket (essentially three Falcon 9 boosters joined together) and the most powerful rocket ever, the Super Heavy, otherwise known as a starship.

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