Eighth Wonder of the World

Landing Falcon 9The ancient world had seven wonders, although only one survives, the Great Pyramid of Giza.  But today we need to add a new wonder of the world, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX Corporation, that successfully left Earth and then relanded without damage.

To borrow a term from gymnastics, it stuck its landing perfectly.  To see the video feed of the landing, click on the image above.

The first stage reached a height of approximately 100 km (60 miles) before executing a complicated maneuver that allowed it to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere in an upright position, and land back at Cape Canveral.

For more of the physics of the problem of landing a rocket stage, see here.

For another tantalizing view of the stage 1 reentry, from a helicopter filming nearby, click here.

Author: Bob Mahoney

Physics teacher

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