SpaceX successfully launches satellite but rocket crash lands on drone ship again

spacex fcc application global wifi gigabit usa ses 9 launch
SpaceX Photos/123rf
SpaceX successfully launched a satellite into space on Friday, but its latest attempt to safely return the rocket by landing it on a floating barge once again ended in failure.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, tweeted that the “rocket landed hard on the drone ship,” adding, “Didn’t expect this one to work.”

He said the Falcon 9 rocket’s reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere had been “very hot,” but believes the team stands “a good chance” of nailing the tricky drone-ship landing in its next attempt, which could take place at the end of this month or early next.

Minutes after a flawless launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday night, the Falcon 9 put the SES-9 commercial communications satellite safely into orbit. But the rocket exploded when it landed on the barge floating several hundred miles off the coast of Florida.

The live video feed cut out minutes before the rocket came down, but going by past failed efforts, the landing probably looked something like this one.

Over the last 14 months, SpaceX has seen several of its rockets topple over and explode on touchdown as the team continues to work out how to achieve a safe landing on its floating barge, which is about the size of a football field.

As if the feat wasn’t already complex enough (check out the various stages below), this latest SES-9 mission posed more challenges than usual, a reality which led the team to state that it didn’t have high hopes for this particular landing. Sadly, it was right.

spacex landing diagram

SpaceX has already successfully landed its rocket on solid ground, but achieving a barge landing would give the company more flexibility when planning future missions, which should one day include ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and, in the long term, trips into deep space. The main goal is to create a reusable rocket system to help take space travel into a new era of affordability and efficiency.

SpaceX clearly still has some way to go before perfecting its technology, but Musk is confident the team will achieve its bold ambitions in time.

Emerging Tech

Scientists use drone to map Icelandic cave in preparation for Mars exploration

Researchers from the SETI Institute and Astrobotic Technology have demonstrated a way that astronauts may be able to map Martian caves using a Lidar-equipped drone that can travel autonomously without GPS.

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Emerging Tech

A 3D printer the size of a small barn will produce entire homes in Saudi Arabia

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can comfortably fit on the side of your desk… well, Danish company Cobod International’s enormous new 3D house printer probably isn’t for you.

Need a ride? Amazon is slashing prices on popular electric scooters

If you’re not much of a cyclist or if you’re looking for a lazier way to zip about town, an electric scooter should be right up your alley. Two of our favorites, the foldable Glion Dolly and the eco-friendly Razor scooter, are on sale…
Emerging Tech

Unexpected particle plumes discovered jetting out of asteroid Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx craft traveled to asteroid Bennu last year and won't return until 2023. But the mission is already throwing up unexpected findings, like plumes of particles which are being ejected from the surface of the asteroid.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Trip to Neptune’s moon, Triton, could inform search for extraterrestrial life

NASA has proposed sending a craft to Neptune to study its largest moon, Triton. Studying Triton could offer clues to how liquid water is maintained on planets, which may indicate what to look for when searching for life beyond our planet.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes its tests with flying colors

The Mars 2020 rover team has been undertaking a series of tests to see if the craft will be able to launch, navigate, and land on the Red Planet. Called Systems Test 1, or ST1, these tests represent the first test drive of the new rover.

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Petzl to Tikkid, here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

A hive of activity: Using honeybees to measure urban pollution

According to a new study from Vancouver, bees could help us understand urban pollution. Scientists have found an innovative way to measure the level of source of pollution in urban environments: by analyzing honey.
Emerging Tech

Spacewalk a success as astronauts upgrade batteries on the ISS

The International Space Station was treated to some new batteries on Friday, thanks to two NASA astronauts who took a spacewalk for nearly seven hours in order to complete the upgrades.
Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.
Emerging Tech

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a super-speedy pulsar

A super-speedy pulsar has been spotted dashing across the sky, discovered using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Very Large Array. The pulsar is traveling at a breathtaking 2.5 million miles an hour.