Soft landing (rocketry)

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Space Shuttle orbiter during soft landing

A soft landing is any type of aircraft, rocket or spacecraft-lander landing that does not result in damage to/the destruction of the vehicle or anything on board.[dubious ] (Contradictory to Hard landing.)

This can be achieved by

  • parachute —often this is into water.
  • vertical rocket powered landing, often referred to as VTVL (vertical landing referred to as VTOL, is usually for aircraft landing in a "level" attitude, rather than rockets — first achieved with an orbital rocket vehicle stage on December 22, 2015).
  • horizontal landing such as with the Space Shuttle also known as VTHL.
  • being caught as attempted with Genesis (spacecraft) and followed by some other form of landing.

Soft landing can be contrasted with the term hard landing.