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There is still magic in re-landing boosters

While watching the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Mission by SpaceX launching from the west coast, it struck me. The re-landing of the first stage booster is still one of the most exciting attractions to watching a launch. It was nearly 6 years ago (December 2015) I live-streamed the first successful landing of a SpaceX booster. I ran around the house interrupting my children’s video games yelling “they did it. They did it!”. I'd love to pretend like I'm exaggerating but after 6 years of watching crashed, I was excited. 6 years after the first landed first stage booster we are still seeing the excitement for those who get to experience it.

I realized it when the hosts of the Sentinal-6 live-feed from SpaceX watched the re-landing in the distance and was rendered speechless. These are the host of the show, they should always have something to say, and being host, always do but all they could do was laugh and say wow. From sonic booms during reentry to the landing itself, these host and guest engineers are still stunned by the site. When the mission control video team sent the live-feed back to those who were reporting from the ground, you just heard from them was “wow”, “I can’t explain it”, “that was amazing” and “I’m speechless”.

This excitement filters over to other companies. When Blue Origin attempts a recapture, the Live Launch site grows in attention. Even recently when a much smaller organization, RocketLab launched their commercial rocket with generally results in little buzz, because they were attempting a parachute water landing and recapture, visitors jumped dramatically. So far, Blue origin can re-land the first stage on land pads, RocketLabs have shown they can recover the first stage from a parachuted ocean landing (although there haven’t been any reports on the condition of the booster or its ability to be reused) and the list grows. Reusability was a brainchild of Elon Musk and the SpaceX team to draw down the cost of space flight and it’s now a reality for more than just them. SpaceX can now re-land the first stage of their rocket and recapture their payload fairings with virtual ease.

As time goes on, more and more people are going to be attracted to the wonders of space and how we get there and it shows how much wonderment is in space travel that we are 6 years into the re-landing accomplishment and it is still not boring. People get bored easily, our commercials are limited to 6 seconds to be the most effective and that is troublesome. I feel better knowing that spaceflight is an activity that transcends beyond the normal. Adults and kids alike are drawn to its seamless endless magic, creating dreams for children and pride in adults. It will only get more exciting from here and I can’t wait to share in the experience.

Thank you for reading

Michael Nazarian, MS, MEM


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