Later this month, if all goes well, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, will achieve a spaceflight first.
delivering cargo to the International Space Station, the first stage of
the Falcon 9 rocket used for the flight will fire its engines for the
second time. The burn will allow the rocket to reenter the atmosphere in
controlled flight, without breaking up and disintegrating on the way
down as most booster rockets do.
The launch was originally planned
for March 16, but the company has delayed the launch until at least
March 30 to allow for further preparation.
The machine will settle over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of its
Cape Canaveral launchpad, engines roaring, and four landing legs will
unfold from the rocket’s sides. Hovering over ocean, the rocket will
kick up a salt spray along with the flames and smoke. Finally, the
engines will cut off and the rocket will drop the last few feet into the
ocean for recovery by a waiting barge.
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