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Landing: What SpaceX CRS-3 Began, Orbcomm-2 Finishes

22 Dec 2015, 18:20 UTC
Landing: What SpaceX CRS-3 Began, Orbcomm-2 Finishes
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In March & April of 2014, 38 people with strong social media skills were selected by NASA to cover the launch of SpaceX Commercial Resupply Mission 3 to the International Space Station. We got to see a lot of science. But one thing significant about CRS-3: SpaceX had installed landing legs on the Falcon 9 rocket. After sending the Dragon spacecraft towards the ISS, SpaceX would attempt a soft landing in the ocean. Last night, on December 21, 2015, four of us from that NASA Social were able to witness the completion of that lofty goal: SpaceX sent 11 Orbcomm satellites to orbit. About 50 media were stationed at Exploration Tower to watch the launch and landing attempt. Here is my streak shot of the launch as shot from the 7th floor roof of Exploration Tower.

Shortly after the second stage of the rocket separated, we watched as the engines on the Falcon were re-ignited for a boost-back burn. Media veterans commented that the first re-entry burn seemed like it was happening directly above our heads. We tracked the rocket after the first burn, and through a second burn. The rocket was dropping, and dropping fast towards the beach in ...

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