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I think that's accurate. As I understand it, the Falcon 9's hand-off from first to second stage takes place at a lower altitude/speed than many orbital rockets in the same class, with the benefit being that less energy is needed to turn the first stage around and return it to the launch site for landing. But for heavy payloads or for specific harder-to-reach orbits, it's better to put that energy into the second stage, and then land the first stage hundreds of miles downrange on the "droneship". This may be even more likely when SpaceX starts launching their Falcon Heavy configuration, with essentially 3 'first stages' -- I'd expect it might become common for the two side-boosters to return to the launch site, and the central core booster continue downrange to land on the 'droneship'. We'll see.I had to think about Mr Musk's statement that ship landings are needed for high velocity missions. Does this mean that the additional fuel needed for a booster turnaround to come back to Mama proscribes the oomph needed to throw cargo citius, altius, fortius? That is, that "high velocity" is NOT to be understood as "rapid mission turnaround", for which a back-to-pad would presumably allow, as opposed to ship landing. Have I got this correct?
Damn that DOES NOT GET OLD! I teared up all over again watching the 1st stage picture perfect touchdown. Loved all the new views of different phases of the flight. And this time they threw in a fraction of a second shot of Elon in the Canaveral control room. Wish I could have seen his face when he ran outside and realized that the 1st stage was safely on the ground...
Elon thought the stage crashed and blew up. He went back inside the launch control room to find out that it hadn't. He didn't go into detail about specifically how he found out and from who from the interview where he gave out the information.
Elon said:I ran out onto the causeway to watch the landing and the sonic boom reached me about the same time as the rocket touched down, so I actually thought at first that it had exploded. But, it turned out to be just that the sonic boom almost exactly coincided with the touchdown point, the sound reached me several seconds later. I thought, well at least we got close, but then I went back into launch control and it was this amazing video of the rocket still actually standing there on the launch pad, or the landing pad I should say. I can't quite believe it.