Video of Falcon 9 first stage barge landing

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This is so incredible to watch that I must post it on the webpage. I think I’ve already seen it a dozen times, and still cannot get over how the rocket, coming in fast and on an angle, rights itself, lands, bounces slightly, and then settles upright into place.

The future here is rushing up on us, fast, in the best way possible.


  • Noah Peal

    The barge appears to stop its pitching and rolling motion just prior to the landing. Without that technology, I wonder if a successful landing would have been possible.

  • Cotour

    Q: How do they remove the rocket from the barge to the land?

    And that is one hell of a landing.

  • Edward

    A: “Musk said the ship was expected to return to port Sunday, where a crane would remove the stage for transportation to facilities at the Cape or Kennedy Space Center.”


    In addition, they seem to weld the booster in place for the voyage back:
    “Crews were expected to board the ship … place steel shoes over the stage’s four landing legs and weld them to the deck to keep the rocket upright.”

  • Mitch S.

    It really does look Sci-Fi.
    If someone had asked me I’d say that’s the most preposterous way to try and recover a booster.
    I might imagine them having some sort of grappling mechanism on the barge, and for that matter, a much larger barge or perhaps a repurposed mothballed aircraft carrier. That 300ft barge looks awfully small as that rocket comes down. Interesting what technology and engineering studies settle on.
    For more info check out:

  • Cotour

    And I hesitated twice to ask the question about the barge and the rocket recovery, turns out it was a very interesting question after all.

    Musk properly answers the question: Now, what the hell worthwhile thing do I do with all of this money?

  • “Musk properly answers the question: Now, what the hell worthwhile thing do I do with all of this money?”

    And that’s the beauty of capitalism. Unlike the Socialists, I have no problem with people making money. I’d prefer that people actually create things, like the Bezo’s, Gate’s, Allen’s, Musk’s and Branson’s, rather than speculate on Wall Street, but money made elsewhere doesn’t impact my ability to make it. The robber barons of the late 19th Century controlled a lot of wealth, but they built things. So it seems with the noveau riche of the early 21st Century. Space is cool, and they get it. And there’s money to be made.

  • How quickly the extraordinary becomes mundane.

    A year ago, this was science fiction. Now it’s fact. The current standard is landing a booster on a barge in the ocean.

    Let that sink in for a minute.

    I notice that the landing leg footprint appears to have increased, perhaps for stability?

    There’s a race going on alright: between the visionaries and the Statists.

  • LJ

    This makes a carrier landing look easy. Unbelievable. Of course the sad thing is that a pilot wasn’t necessary. Times are changing. This feat may be seminal when we look back in 10-20 years. It’s the start of a trend that will be exciting. For example, if we can do this we can land an airliner filled with passengers at any airport without a pilot.

  • Cotour


    You of course identify the one thing that ALL of this rests upon, CAPITALISM!

    A friend sent me an article for me to contemplate and comment on, the story is about the web site Etsy.
    The article is titled “Can a company upend capitalism without really earning a profit?” it was sent to me under the title “Bringing Down Capitalism”.

    This was my response:

    “Its a great entrepanurial story, I love it! The headline and some of the content seem to lead the reader to the conclusion that something other than capitalism is going on though.

    “Etsy’s post-capitalist tea-cozy utopia offered exactly that. But if nobody’s yet made any real money on that pitch, just how seriously should we take it?” They are not however “post” capitalism, they are very much immersed in capitalism, the difference is they freely choose to structure their operation (spend their money) in the way that they see fit.

    Where this entire thing goes off the rails is when government latches on to such ideas and then mandates such structures and or confiscates taxes to create the structure themselves.”

    There is a segment of our population, the “progressives”, leftists, Millenials, how ever they describe themselves that are in the need to protect themselves from the harshness of the word “capitalism”. They contort themselves to supposedly restructure capitalism in order to call it something else more to their liking, but its still capitalism.

    I find this very interesting, the modern left constantly is in the process of redefining words and terms so as to hide the reality of their own activities and in the end its still (properly) regulated capitalism that reigns as thee dominant provider of freedom and wealth. But they need to convince their true believers that the opposite is true, they appropriate the spoils of capitalism to “properly” redistribute it. That’s all they can do, and lie about it all the while.

  • chris l

    This is just plain awesome. It looks like some 1950’s sci fi movie, where they run stock footage of a V2 launch backwards to get that effect, but it’s real this time. Life is beginning to look like a Robert Heinlein novel.

  • Edward

    Mitch S. wrote: “I might imagine them having some sort of grappling mechanism on the barge, and for that matter, a much larger barge”

    Rockets are delicate vehicles. Their skins are about as thin as a soda pop can. They are designed for vertical forces, so nets or other grappling mechanisms are likely to damage them beyond economical repair. The engines may be reusable, after such damage — and they are the expensive part — but that may increase the turnaround time for reuse.

    A larger barge may help, if the targeting system lacks precision, but I think that we have seen with Blue Origin’s and SpaceX’s several attempts that these rockets get within “GPS precision” — 10 meters — of their targets.

    Noah Peal wrote: “The barge appears to stop its pitching and rolling motion just prior to the landing.”

    The rumor is that there are some 1,000 ton thrusters used to counteract the waves and reduce the rocking and rolling, but I have not found any articles to confirm this. There are definitely station-keeping thrusters that keep it from drifting from the landing coordinates. Many ships and tugboats have such thrusters, which is why fewer ships require tugboats to gently dock at their piers.

    Blair Ivey wrote: “And that’s the beauty of capitalism.”
    Well, that might be *one* beauty of capitalism. Another is the incentive to improve upon what is already available, which is why SpaceX, Blue Origin, and others are improving on the launch vehicle.

    Another beauty is that in order to get people to buy your products, your products have to improve their lives. This is why free market capitalist systems are the ones that advance the fastest. Everyone is improving everyone else’s lives, they are constantly looking for advancements and efficiencies, and they are continuously reinvesting in doing both of these things.

    This is why we do not have “robber barons” in free market capitalist systems, although the socialists would have us believe otherwise. Those whom the socialists call robber barons have made advancements and efficiencies that have so improved people’s lives that those people willingly paid for the offered goods and services. Free market capitalists do not rob people or their customers, they sell at an agreed upon price. If the customer does not agree, he does not pay the price and finds another supplier or lives without.

    This system has been relatively stable for millennia. There have been a few hiccoughs and recessions, over the years, but it is self correcting, as people make less of what there is already too much and make more of what there is not enough. There is price incentive to do so.

    As Cotour says, it is when government intervenes that things go off the rails. It is why we had a Great Depression instead of a recession and why we now have an eight-year recession instead of a booming economy after a brief (government caused) recession.

    Frankly, it is the economics you learned in third-grade and practice in everyday life. That is another beauty to free market capitalism. Basically, it is not as hard to understand as the socialists and Keynesians want you to believe.

    And it is these same economics that have driven SpaceX and Blue Origin to build reusable rockets.

  • Cotour


    The government, specifically this government, is intervening in a different way. They are attempting to redefine what capitalism is and calling it “progressive”, but it is still capitalism. If they can convince enough people (millenials) that what is in fact going on is a modified form of Marxism and THAT is now the new paradigm to success then that would big one of thee biggest lies ever told and believed by a large and naive segment of the public. This is very dangerous.

    This group think and insistence on what reality is which is counter to reality. This is the power of the lefts agenda, and it appears to be working. The left we have agreed are the Borg, they think and act as one. The Right on the other hand are the Hatfields and the McCoys, dopey hillbillies shooting each other because they found out they were all sleeping with their own sisters.

    Our only hope? The potential for both party’s leadership to insist on their choices for president against the peoples will. Both party’s are in the process of self destruction. Out of chaos comes order.

  • mpthompson

    I found the following link on that shows a rocket landing on a platform at sea in a Russian movie made in 1959. Translated from Russian, the caption is: Spacecraft “Homeland” does a vertical landing on a floating platform from the film “Heaven is Calling”.

    Only took 57 years for this to become reality.

    Congratulation to Elon and the rest of the SpaceX team.

  • Wayne

    Could someone enlighten me (and my failing memory!) on how the Soviets landed their space-capsules in the 1960’s/70’s? I was under the impression, without ready access to the Worlds Oceans, they used parachutes & retro-rockets to land, on land. (?) (and were not always successful…) Where-as we, were committed to the “splash-down” early on… (?)

    Edward: Always enlightening ‘rocket-science’ factoids from you! And as well, always a well-explained defense of free-market Capitalism!

  • Almost all of the Russian capsules have landed the same way, using parachutes and then a short burst of thruster fire just before impact to soften contact.

    It seems to me you need to look at some of your reference material. I know you own this Chronological Encyclopedia book that sometimes can answer these questions. :)

  • Wayne

    Yepper– Right there on page 11!

  • This is a scene from the Soviet Russian film, ‘Heaven Is Calling’ (1956)

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