SpaceX's recently landed Falcon 9 rocket was transported to its new home yesterday at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The vehicle, which landed on a floating drone ship on May 6th after launching into space, was taken from Port Canaveral to SpaceX's hangar at Launch Complex 39A — a spaceport the company leases from NASA at Kennedy Space Center. There, the Falcon 9 joined the two other rockets that SpaceX has landed.
This rocket is the second Falcon 9 that has landed on a drone ship at sea. Prior to the vehicle's launch, SpaceX didn't have high expectations the rocket would stick the landing. The Falcon 9 had to launch a Japanese communication satellite into a very high orbit above Earth, so the vehicle was going particularly fast and burned up a lot of fuel during ascent. When it returned to Earth from space, the rocket hit the atmosphere at close to 4,000 miles per hour, according to SpaceX, and it landed with just 3 seconds of propellant to spare.
SpaceX didn't have high expectations this rocket would stick the landing
The rocket will stay in the 39A hangar for now, along with the rockets SpaceX landed in April and December. SpaceX's hangar can house up to five Falcon 9s at once, so now the room is more than halfway full. If the company keeps successfully landing its vehicles, the hangar may soon run out of space for these recovered rockets.
SpaceX does have the option to move some of the Falcon 9s to the company's test facility in McGregor, Texas. After undergoing inspections in Florida, this latest rocket will eventually be transported there for further testing to see how reliable it will be if flown into space a second time. SpaceX hasn't indicated when this Falcon 9 will fly again.
Check out the Falcon 9's trip to the 39A hangar below:
All photos courtesy of SpaceX. The new Falcon 9 is seen at the center.