After one crash and two weather-related cancellations, Elon Musk’s often extra-terrestrial company SpaceX has succeeded in sending another re-supply mission to the International Space Station. The landing a rocket stage on a robot boat part? That didn’t go so well.
Ascent successful. Dragon enroute to Space Station. Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2015
Landing too hard on a robot barge drifting in the Atlantic, the first stage of the Dragon spacecraft’s Falcon 9 rocket crashed at approximately 1:31 PM PST, around 15 minutes after launching today from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
UPDATE (2:03 PM PST): Elon Musk tweeted out these photos showing what looks like a soft landing, but for whatever reason the rocket stage tipped over. “All we have right now is low frame rate video (basically pictures),” says Musk. “Normal video will be posted when ship returns to port in a few days.”
UPDATE (7:50 PM PST): SpaceX released this video of the Falcon 9 stage landing. It came so close!
Aside from the failed re-capture, the beginning of the 6th re-supply mission to the ISS went off without a hitch. In the next few days, the Dragon spacecraft will dock with the ISS and deliver 4,400 pounds of food and supplies to the orbiting astronauts, including those on the one year in space mission.
There’s no word yet on when the next attempt to land a rocket stage will be, but Musk is confident. He figures the odds of a rocket landing successfully are 80% by the end of the year. But that high value “is only bcs many launches ahead,” he recently tweeted.
If SpaceX can land a rocket stage by the end of the year, 2016 will be the year spaceflight undergoes another revolution.