UPDATED: Watch the Live Stream of SpaceX's Groundbreaking Rocket Landing--That's Already Expected to Fail

Wednesday, 24 February 2016 - 12:21PM
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 - 12:21PM
UPDATED: Watch the Live Stream of SpaceX's Groundbreaking Rocket Landing--That's Already Expected to Fail
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SpaceX has tried time and time again to land their Falcon 9 rocket on a barge, but each time the rocket has crashed spectacularly. Now, they're trying again, but this time, even SpaceX doesn't expect the landing to be successful.

UPDATE - 02/25/16 10:22 am

The launch has been postponed to tonight, Thursday, February 25, as a result of inclement weather. The launch window will once again open on 6:46, and the live stream will be hosted at the same website.

Here's the original article:

Tonight, SpaceX will launch the SES-9 satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket into geostationary orbit, 22,000 miles above the Earth. After the rocket delivers its payload, it will return to Earth and make yet another attempt to land on a drone ship off the coast of Cape Canaveral. SpaceX's live stream of the event will begin at 6:26pm ET, while the rocket is expected to launch at 6:46pm.

Here's the full schedule:

6:26PM ET: SpaceX live stream begins.
6:46PM ET: Expected liftoff of Falcon 9 rocket.
6:48PM ET: First and second stage separate. Landing attempt of first stage will happen a few minutes later. Second stage ignites engine, carrying satellite farther into space.
6:55PM ET: Second stage engine shuts off.
7:13PM ET: Second stage engine restarts again, boosting the satellite even farther. Less than a minute later, the engine will turn off again.
7:17PM ET: SES-9 satellite deployed. The satellite will use its own propulsion system to travel the rest of the way to its intended orbit.

SpaceX has made great strides in its quest towards reusable rockets recently, as the Falcon 9 rocket managed to make a historic vertical landing in December. But that was a terrestrial landing pad, which is significantly easier than a comparatively unstable water landing. Plus, the rocket needs to go much higher for this mission than it did for its last payload (1,200 miles into orbit), which not only makes the water landing necessary for safety reasons, as the rocket will be traveling much faster than the rocket that made a terrestrial landing, but makes the chances of success much smaller.

This will be SpaceX's fifth attempt to land a rocket on a barge, after three crashes and one explosion in mid-air. The last attempt came tantalizingly close to success, but still, SpaceX isn't counting their chickens. The rocket will need much more fuel than usual in order to reach 22,000 miles above Earth, which means it won't have very much left for the return to Earth. 

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"Given this mission's unique GTO profile, a successful landing is not expected," SpaceX said in a statement.
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