Many of SpaceX’s rocket launches of late have almost become unexciting and normal, which is actually a good thing for the company’s goals. Just as each and every plane flight has become almost banal, so too will space flight become in SpaceX’s and Elon Musk’s vision. That said, there are still some things that the company has to check off its list and it has just reached not just one but two milestones in what would have normally been an uneventful 90th Falcon 9 launch.
The Monday launch at Cape Canaveral was almost like any other. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 would be carrying a South Korean military satellite, the Anasis-II into orbit. SpaceX, however, had another goal, one that it has been attempting to do for every launch. It has also tried to catch the fairing halves of the Falcon 9’s nose cone and, for the first time, it finally did exactly that.
The halves cost around $6 million but, fortunately, they are rather reusable even if they crash land into water. Of course, catching them with SpaceX’s nets is even more preferred, especially since it reduces the risk of damages and the need for intensive repairs. Although it wasn’t able to document it, Elon Musk proudly tweeted the achievement.
That wasn’t the only victory SpaceX was able to bag, though. The Falcon 9 that flew on this mission was apparently the same Falcon 9 that made history when it launched NASA astronauts last May. More than that, however, this makes the fastest turnaround for a Falcon 9 rocket in the company’s history as well.
There’s definitely still room for SpaceX to keep hitting milestones and breaking records. It’s actually a bit too early in the game to become bored with each new launch. We will eventually lose count of how many launches the Falcon 9 has made but, by then, we might already be too focused on its bigger siblings’ more ambitious flights to Mars and beyond.