SpaceX on Friday landed its third consecutive rocket on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, during a mission that successfully launched a commercial communications satellite to orbit.
“Falcon 9 has landed,” a member of SpaceX’s launch team confirmed about 10 minutes after a 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket’s 5:39 p.m. blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
About 20 minutes later, the rocket’s upper stage deployed the Thaicom 8 satellite in orbit as planned.
“All looks good,” reported SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Later, Musk said the rocket stage had landed at close to the top speed it was designed to handle, possibly undermining its stability on the ship floating more than 400 miles offshore.
“Prob ok, but some risk of tipping,” he said on Twitter.
If it staid upright, crews planned to board the unpiloted “drone ship” to weld shoes over the rocket’s four landing legs and sail it back to Port Canaveral within a few days.
Musk’s comment was a reminder that despite a remarkable run of three straight booster landings and four in the company’s last six missions, the landings remain experimental.
SpaceX’s long-term goal is to cut launch costs by reusing rockets. Musk wants to achieve aircraft-like operations, with teams needing only to hose down down and refuel rockets between flights.
But the rockets landed Friday and three weeks ago have sustained more damage, possibly too much to allow them to fly again.
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[VIDEO] ‘The Vehicle Experienced an Anomaly on Ascent’: SpaceX CRS-7 Explodes Moments After Liftoff, Mission Ends In DisasterPosted: June 28, 2015
The latest Dragon spacecraft cargo run to the International Space Station blasted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 28th, 2015 and exploded during flight. SpaceX wanted to attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a ocean platform. [The last attempt crashed into the platform – see the tracking cam video]
Christian Davenport reports: An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded a couple of minutes after liftoff Sunday morning. It was the third cargo mission to the space station to be lost in recent months.
SpaceX tweeted: “The vehicle experienced an anomaly on ascent. Team is investigating. Updates to come.”
NASA officials said it was not clear what caused the explosion.
SpaceX was carrying more than 4,000 pounds of food and supplies to the space station, where American Scott Kelly is spending a year in space. There were no astronauts on board.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 28, 2015
The failure follows two earlier mishaps. An Orbital Antares rocket blew up in October, and then a Russian Progress 59 spun out of control after reaching orbit.
Before the launch, Stephanie Schierholz, a NASA spokeswoman, said that the station had plenty of supplies on board and that the crew would be fine even if there was another failure. Read the rest of this entry »
After six successful missions to the International Space Station, including five official resupply missions for NASA, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are set to liftoff from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for their sixth official Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)
Long Exposure Photo of tonight’s Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, carrying AsiaSat 6 to Geostationary Transfer Orbit