ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

08/06/20
Almost exactly three days after SpaceX’s historic first crew launch from the Kennedy Space Centre on 30 May, the 15-storey tall Falcon rocket booster has been returned to shore, after landing itself aboard a football field-sized drone ship off the coast of Florida shortly after the weekend launch.

Local residents, tourists, and space enthusiasts flocked to Jetty Park and Port Canaveral to witness the return of the reusable rocket booster, as the SpaceX drone ship ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ brought the rocket home, reports Space.com.

A tug boat pulled the drone ship through the inlet leading to Port Canaveral at around 2 pm local time (around 7 pm BST) on Tuesday 2 June, and the Falcon 9 rocket booster was carefully hoisted off the drone ship by a crane, and into an onshore stand.

SpaceX planned to remove or retract the rocket’s landing legs, then rotate the booster horizontal for transport back to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for further inspections, and likely refurbishment for another launch.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 3:22 p.m. local time on Saturday 30 May from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre carrying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a test flight to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The launch grabbed the attention of space enthusiasts all around the world, as it marked the first time US astronauts have launched from U.S. soil into Earth orbit since the last space shuttle launch July 8, 2011.

After the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket detached from the upper stages, around two-and-a-half minutes after launch, it deployed four fins for aerodynamic stability, then reignited a subset of its Merlin engines to steer toward a landing on the drone ship ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ a few hundred miles northeast of Cape Canaveral.

A single-engine burn slowed the rocket for the final descent to the drone ship’s deck, and four black landing legs made of carbon fibre extended just before touchdown.

Electron beam welding is used extensively in the aerospace and space industries, so come and talk to us today for more information.