# How far downrange would a reusable Falcon 9 first stage land (without fly-back)?

Let's imagine a rocket like the Falcon 9 recovers its first stage via a soft landing, but doesn't attempt a return to the launchpad. For the sake of argument, let's imagine that there are no geographic constraints on the landing location, as would be the case in an ocean barge recovery.

Roughly where does that put us? In such a scheme, what is a reasonable number for the distance between the launchpad and the recovery location? There's no doubt we have plenty of historical precedent, but I'm sure there's fairly broad interest in the subject and I can't manage to easily look this up myself.

The difference between landing downrange, and fly-back is only a matter of degrees. That is, to land downrange you still expend fuel slowing your forward motion. With fly-back, you expend more fuel to do so.

Elon has said that 15-30% of payload mass is the penalty for reuse, depending on where they recover the stage.

A good possible option is to launch from Brownsville, TX (Boca Chica Beach) and recover in Florida.

Exact numbers would be interesting to see.

For the 4/8/2016 landing of the first stage, someone made a Google Map of the location of the barge: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zeQeb73wSTuU.kjrfK2rN8ICk

The first point looks a little less than a day after the landing, so not sure if truly accurate. But I calculated the distance between that and the Cape. I got 221.4 km.

EDIT: but Wikipedia is giving 300 km.

The locations for landing were some 600-700km from launch site for DSCOVR and SES-9 and those two did not do the boostback burn so they are as close to "free" flight as possible (the re-entry burn still sheds some velocity otherwise the stage would burn up).