Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2024 January 20
Explanation: The December 28 night launch of a Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida marked the fifth launch for the rocket's reusable side boosters. About 2 minutes 20 seconds into the flight, the two side boosters separated from the rocket's core stage. Starting just after booster separation, this three minute long exposure captures the pair's remarkable boostback burns, maneuvers executed prior to their return to landing zones on planet Earth. While no attempt was made to recover the Falcon Heavy's core stage, both side boosters landed successfully and can be flown again. The four previous flights for these side boosters included last October's launch of NASA's asteroid-bound Psyche mission. Their next planned flight is on the Europa Clipper mission scheduled for launch in October 2024.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Ryan Smallcomb Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC,
NASA Science Activation
& Michigan Tech. U.