Welcome to my Rocket Launch Simulator.

This started off as an attempt at emulating SpaceX's launches. Their experiments with landing the booster stage have made for some pretty interesting challenges. Booster return experiments started in 2013 with the launch of CASSIOPE but no data was made available about extra burns and all that until the launch of the Orbcomm OG2 satellites in mid-2014. And that's where this simulation comes in...

Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with SpaceX. This entire project is purely recreational.

Orbcomm OG2 (Mission 1)

Launched on 14/07/14. Made it down to sea-level for a soft landing in the ocean. Check out the video here and another cool angle here.

  • Figure 1c

    Figures 1a and 1b plot the booster stage's trajectory as it returns for a soft-landing in the ocean. The marked landing area is the actual hazard area SpaceX designated on the day - showing the simulation's accuracy. Each blue dot signifies either an engine ignition or an engine cut-off, with the last burn continuing to sea-level ensuring a soft landing. Figure 1c shows the trajectory of the satellites during their launch and first orbit of the Earth.


Launched on 21/09/14. This launch (as far as I'm aware) was the first in which a boost back was performed after stage sep. Check out this awesome infrared video of the burns here.

  • Figure 2c

    Identical graphs to OG2 except for the inclusion of the boost back at the top of the booster's trajectory. This burn was performed while the booster was pointing retrograde and, as a result, the stage fell short of the designated hazard area. Some members at /r/spacex have posited that this burn may be performed pointing up slightly, giving the stage more air-time. Looks likely now. Working on it.

Wanna share something?

Tell me why my simulation is wrong, why my CSS sucks, or what I should try next.

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