The first stage rocket responsible for the SpaceX mission that took two astronauts into space – and included a successful docking at the International Space Station (ISS) – has been successfully recovered.
Images published by the company itself show the Falcon 9 model being towed to Port Canaveral, Florida, which is close to the launch region.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 2, 2020
As part of the Demo-2 mission, which marked the first transport of NASA astronauts by a private American company, Falcon 9 launched the set that includes the Crew Dragon capsule. Nine minutes after takeoff, the rocket landed vertically on SpaceX’s own “Of Course I Still Love You” platform – named after a spaceship in the book “The Player of Games”, by Iain M. Banks, a of Elon Musk’s favorites. The CEO and co-founder even reacted with great emotion to the success of the mission.
This means that the rocket can undergo slight maintenance and be reused in future launches, generating savings and sustainability on the part of the company. For now, the second stage rocket cannot be reused yet.
However, it is not known whether the company will in fact reuse the piece or keep it as a kind of museum piece, since the equipment became part of a historic event. The Demo-2 mission will be completed only with the return of the pair to Earth after the time spent on the ISS, which can take between one to four months.