It’s probably not great publicity to show off your company’s failures, but Good Guy Elon Musk knows something awesome when he sees it. That’s why the billionaire entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX tweeted a series of images and clips showing the dramatic “failed” vertical landing attempt of his Falcon 9 rocket.
Are we there yet?
To be fair Musk knew ahead a time that there was a high probability that the experimental landing would fail. This was more of a practice run at attempting a “Buck Rogers” style rocket landing opposed to an accident. Whereas today’s rockets launch into space, only to unceremoniously plop back in the ocean; SpaceX is trying to build a reusable rocket that can land vertically on a platform.
This would dramatically decrease the price of rocket launches to space and reduce the amount of time needed between launches. While this sort of landing is a staple of science fiction since the genre began, in real life we have not yet mastered this technique.
SpaceX Vine of the Falcon 9 Rocket landing crash:
The private space company has demonstrated this ability with smaller test vehicles, but last week’s launch was the first time the massive Falcon 9 rocket used cargo to the International Space Station for NASA attempted such a landing. (This mission did successfully deliver it’s Dragon Capsule to the ISS). To make it even more dramatic the Falcon 9 attempted to land on a target on a barge floating in the water. In these images we can see as the landing was “close but no cigar” as Musk put it.
The 14 story tall rocket hit the floating target at a 45 degree angle as its stabilizing fins lost hydraulic power while its engines fire in vain to keep it upright. Musk seems happy with the trial run, so here is looking forward to the next Falcon 9 lunch and a successful landing.
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