SpaceX Just Failed to Land a Rocket onto a Drone Ship

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 - 1:47PM
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 - 1:47PM
SpaceX Just Failed to Land a Rocket onto a Drone Ship
The good news is that the SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched two satellites into orbit this morning. The bad news - the company failed catastrophically to land the vehicle afterward. After a promising start, the rocket shattered into pieces above SpaceX's floating drone ship.

Prior to the launch, SpaceX said this landing would be difficult, since the rocket was going into an incredibly high orbit, known as a geostationary transfer orbit, or GTO. Sending satellites into GTO uses the majority of a rocket's fuel during initial ascent, leaving less fuel to pull of the landing. 



(RUD= rapid unscheduled disassembly, Musk's softcore way of saying "it broke into tiny little pieces.") 

About 10 minutes after the launch, as the Falcon 9 first stage was approaching an autonomous landing pad named "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean, you could see large amounts of smoke before the live feed cut out entirely. SpaceX later confirmed that the vehicle had been lost, meaning that they would not be adding a fourth successful landing to their streak.

Science
NASA

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