On Sunday January 17, SpaceX will continue its mission to astound by launching its Falcon 9 rocket into space then landing in onto a “drone ship.”
The rocket will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California along with the Jason-3 satellite, which will be used to gather data on sea-level variations and ocean circulation patterns from the sky. When part of it returns to Earth, the aim is to land it on a remote-control floating platform.
Why not land on the ground? According to NBC, a mobile landing pad just allows for more flexibility when it comes to landing if conditions change, as the site can be moved to a place where it is safer or more efficient for the rocket to come down
The attempt comes after the historic Falcon 9 launch and land less than a month ago, on 21 December 2015, which saw one of the first successful attempts to land a rocket’s reusable first stage back to Earth.
SpaceX has tried landing on a sea-platform twice before, in January and April 2015. Unfortunately, both times ended with a ball of flames. “Close, but no cigar,” as Elon Musk tweeted after the January crash.
This time around, SpaceX is a lot more confident. It's conducted a static test-launch at its Californian pad on January 12 and the data “looks good,” according to the SpaceX twitter.
Check out our other article for more information on the launch here.
Watch the launch live here: