NOTE - Thread is for the first landing attempt thru the most recent missions. This first post and thread title will no longer be updated with the most recent mission, but all are encouraged to make new posts for the newest (and future) missions. ------------------------------- Next launch is JCSAT-14, a Com Sat for Japan. very early Friday May 6th, 1:22 AM EDT (think of it more like launching late Thursday night after midnight). It will try to land on the ASDS Barge, OCISLY. News for this launch begins here: http://www.rocketryforum.com/showth...-PM-EDT-*TODAY*-April-8&p=1577374#post1577374 [archive milestone link to first successful ASDS Barge landing]CRS-8 , an ISS resupply mission, is currently set to launch Friday, April 8th, at 4:43 p.m. EDT. It’s booster is planned to land at sea, on the ASDS Barge “Of Course I Still Love You”. Link for thread message with more info on the flight is here: http://www.rocketryforum.com/showth...5-PM-EST-Friday-March-4&p=1568868#post1568868 [archive milestone link to first successful landing] The SpaceX RTF (Return To Flight) mission for Orbcomm-2 successfuly launched its satellites. The first stage soft landed on land, back at the Cape, at the new landing facility previously known as LC-13. See message #547: http://www.rocketryforum.com/showth...(Sunday)-at-8-29-PM-EST&p=1530659#post1530659 Here is the SpaceX Webcast link: http://www.spacex.com/webcast/ [original December 11, 2014 message text below] Space-X is scheduled to launch an unmanned "Dragon" spacecraft on a resupply mission to ISS. But the biggest news about that is that it will attempt the first landing of a Falcon-9 first stage, onto a solid surface, so it can not only be recovered intact but hopefully reflown. If successful it will make history. The computer-generated image below is not depicting pre-launch, it is post-landing! There have been successful tests of controlled re-entry and soft landings in the ocean (and MANY soft landing test hops in Texas). This time, it'll try to land on a converted barge. Here's a link to one of many stories about it, and some photos. I'm including the text of the story at the end of this. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...ugh-make-spaceflight-affordable-everyone.html BTW - here is a very relevant youtube video of a test flight in Texas in July. It flew a kilometer up, and tested out the deployable steered grid fins. However, it does not descend very fast, so the steerable grid fins did not really get much of a test like they will during supersonic descent from 20-30 thousand feet. The steering grid fins are pretty important for trying to make a precise landing on the barge. The earlier "soft landings" in the ocean were , as far as I can tell, not attempting to land on an exact coordinate spot and really could not do so without some kind of aerodynamic (or some other additional) steering to tweak the trajectory path during descent. And the test hops in Texas could not simulate a long ballistic descent because they did not have the necessary huge safety area to be able to fly that high, across a long distance, to attempt to simulate such a thing. It seems like the above test flight to a height of 1 kilometer might be the highest they have flown (and descended to simulate landing), and that was pretty much vertical. They have done other tests, not quite as high, where it flew partly diagonally then flew back to the launch pad. So the aerodynamic steering is to help get it close enough to the ballpark for the powered landing to be able take it the rest of the way. Here is a video of a launch in August, the second stage put six Orbcomm satellites into orbit. The first stage did a successful powered soft landing in the Atlantic Ocean, it floated for awhile but broke up & sank. Here is onboard video from the same flight. Unfortunately, the view was obscured by accumulations of ice, but you can still make out some neat portions of the landing. If it makes it close to the barge, there ought to be some great video, even if the onboard camera gets obscured again. I would expect a lot of fixed cameras on the barge. Perhaps a few that also pan and tilt, either remotely human controlled or auto-computer controlled. Also, they have made some great use of multicopters ("drones") for video of many of the Texas flights, despite the FAA anti-drone crusade. So I am hoping they also have at least one of those in the air, done well it would make for incredible video. Sort of depends I guess on how close the support ship will be, to allow for one or more human R/C pilots, and/or the range of the R/C equipment if the ship is say 10 miles out. Or if that is not practical, I would not be surprised if they had a totally autonomous multicopter or two to automatically shoot the video from fixed position(s) in the sky, a few hundred feet off to the side from the barge, with the camera pointed at the barge. Once the Falcon launches, it'll be minutes before the multicopter(s) would need to take off, and get into position. Onboard battery life not a big issue since they'll know when the Falcon first stage should land, almost to the second, so they can plan out the timeline to get into the air, into position, video the landing, and to allow for time to fly back to the barge, maybe do a not-too-close circle around Falcon, then land on the barge. The Public Relations value of such would be tremendous, because while aerospace pros and junkies do not even need to see any video to know the importance of it, the general public needs to see something impressive. And that would be the most impressive way to show it...... if it works (Hope they don't use the old cold war Russian method of only showing successes, put the video on a time delay and cut the feed if something goes wrong. They never did release any video of the self-destruct explosion they had in Texas, AFAIK. But then that was a private test, and not a NASA-funded launch). - George Gassaway Aerial view of the actual barge View of the deployable steerable "grid fins" at the top of the first stage, with interstage at right. Previous Falcon 9 launch in July. SpaceX gears up to land a reusable rocket on a floating barge - and the breakthrough could make spaceflight more affordable for everyone SpaceX is planning to land a rocket at Cape Canaveral on Monday The first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket will attempt to touch down on a barge after launching a Dragon capsule into space* It is the first ever attempt at landing a rocket on solid ground after launch Elon Musk said the ambitious attempt has a 50% chance of working The company*ultimately*wants all of its rockets to be reusable* By JONATHAN O'CALLAGHAN FOR MAILONLINE SpaceX has long spoken of its ambition to make rockets reusable. And on Monday, the firm plans to reach a major milestone as part of this endeavour when it brings back part of one of its Falcon 9 rockets after launch.* If all goes to plan, the first stage of the rocket will gently lower itself and land on solid ground for the first time ever.* The attempt will occur during the launch of the latest cargo-carrying Dragon capsule to the ISS at 7.31pm GMT (2.31pm EST) on Monday 16 December. The Falcon 9 rocket carrying Dragon will take off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After launch, at a height of about 56 miles (90km), the first stage of the rocket will separate from the second stage. While the latter continues its mission into orbit, the former would usually be left to fall back into the ocean - as is the case on all other rocket launches. However on this flight, for the first time ever, SpaceX will instead use a specially designed first stage capable of landing itself on a floating barge. In a previous flight, a Falcon 9 first stage hovered above the surface of the ocean - without a barge - in a successful demonstration of the technology. On that flight, the first stage was left to fall into the ocean after proving it could hover above the ground. But on this next flight, the rocket will touch down on a floating barge. The barge measures about 300 feet (90 metres) long by 100 feet (30 metres) wide, and also has wings that extend out to another 170 feet (50 metres). According to SpaceX chief Elon Musk, it also has ‘thrusters repurposed from deep sea oil rigs’ that can hold it in position within 10 feet (three metres) even in a storm. To control the rocket as it lands, grid fins on its side are used, which control its pitch, yaw and roll. These are ‘stowed on ascent and then deploy on re-entry for “X-Wing” [from Star Wars] style control,’ according to Musk. And to slow it down as it descends it will save 15 per cent of its original fuel, allowing it to lower itself towards the ocean without the use of a parachute. However, as the mission has never been tried before, he added that there was only a 50 per cent chances of the platform landing being a success on this first attempt. Whatever the outcome, though, SpaceX will use the data they glean to improve their technique and one day plan to perform this manoeuvre during every launch. Cameras on board the barge will capture the entire descent, although it’s unclear how much - if any - of this footage SpaceX will make public. Eventually, they will start bringing the upper - or second - stage of the rocket back as well. The ultimate goal is to make the entire rocket reusable - which will drastically reduce the cost of going to space. SpaceX has a £1billion ($1.6 billion) contract with Nasa to resupply the ISS. This launch of the Dragon capsule will be the fifth of 12 scheduled missions.