NASA, SpaceX Share Data On Supersonic Retropropulsion

Image Credit: NASA/Scifli Team/Applied Physics Laboratory Images

Image Credit: NASA/Scifli Team/Applied Physics Laboratory Images

An innovative partnership between NASA and SpaceX is giving the U.S. space agency an early look at what it would take to land multi-ton habitats and supply caches on Mars for human explorers, while providing sophisticated infrared (IR) imagery to help the spacecraft company develop a reusable launch vehicle.

After multiple attempts, airborne NASA and U.S. Navy IR tracking cameras have captured a SpaceX Falcon 9 in flight as its first stage falls back toward Earth shortly after second-stage ignition and then reignites to lower the stage toward a propulsive “zero-velocity, zero-altitude” touchdown on the sea surface.

 

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*Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

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