SUCCESS: Elon Musk Landed A Rocket On An Ocean Platform

SpacexSpaceXThis morning’s launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Elon, we have touch down!

SpaceX launched and landed a Falcon 9 rocket yesterday in a game-changing event that is paving the way for a new era of reusable rocket technology.

After several delays and reschedulings, SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon spacecraft full of cargo destined for the International Space Station (ISS).

What was most exciting about this was the Falcon 9 rocket’s descent onto the floating platform of a drone ship floating a couple hundred miles off the northeast coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Using GPS tracking, the rocket made it to the drone ship, a pretty amazing feat!

But sadly it landed too hard, Musk announced shortly after the landing attempt.

While other outlets are saying the test was a failure, because the hard landing means that the rocket is probably too damaged to be reused, we think it’s still a win. It took a crazy amount of precision to guide the rocket from 50 miles above Earth’s surface to a football field-sized platform in the ocean, and then actually land on it.

No one else has even thought to do this, let alone succeed.

Luckily, the ship was not damaged too much from the landing.

There was some hope that SpaceX would record the rocket’s attempted landing, similar to the video they released for a soft landing in the ocean in July 2014. But that didn’t quite work out, either.

At the end of the day, it’s pretty incredible that SpaceX navigated a rocket onto a platform in the ocean. We call that a win!

Here’s video of the launch:

Here’s a peek at what the landing might have looked like, if it was a little softer, made by SpaceX fan and Redditor Jon Ross on ZL SA Design.

SpacexJon Ross at @zlsadesign and zlsa.github.ioArtist’s impression of SpaceX rocket landing.

Musk said he guessed that there was about a 50% probability of success for the test. Getting the rocket to the drone ship is step one. The next step is landing softly. 

Today’s launch was the fifth of at least 12 resupply missions that SpaceX has contracted with NASA. So, there will be more opportunities to try this groundbreaking stunt again until we get it right. And more opportunities for awesome pictures like this one:

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