Apr. 8th, 2016

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SpaceX have just successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket. From a technological viewpoint, provided that the rocket is indeed fully (or even mostly) reusable, that's a pretty big step forward. Even if that rocket can't be reused, it's a solid move towards making one that is. I was impressed.

But then I started to think about the physics of it from outside the aerospace technology angle. Essentially, what they did was this: They dropped a 25-storey building out of the sky, and used controlled explosions to land it exactly upright on a floating platform that's narrower than the building is tall, without damaging either and leaving the combined system nice and stable.

When I look at it like that, it's no longer impressive, it's incredible.

Science is awesome.

ETA: Actually, that's not quite right. The height figure I was using (just over 70 metres) turns out to be for the whole Falcon 9 rocket, rather than just the first stage. The part landing on the barge is only 44m tall, so that's only about 15 stories, not 25. Which doesn't make the achievement any less amazing.

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