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Space & Astronomy

SpaceX rocket landing attempt has failed

By T.K. Randall
January 10, 2015 · Comment icon 14 comments

SpaceX is hoping to make space launches a lot more cost-effective. Image Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
The American firm has been attempting to develop rocket parts that can be returned to Earth and reused.
Normally when a rocket is launched its constituent stages are discarded and never used again, a mechanism that makes space exploration more expensive and adds to the ever-growing ring of space debris that exists in orbit around our planet.

In an effort to tackle these problems, SpaceX has been working on a way to have spent rocket stages perform a controlled descent back down to the ground where they could be refurbished and used again for future missions.

The firm had been hoping to test out the technology during a Falcon 9 flight this week which saw a Dragon cargo capsule being successfully delivered to the International Space Station.
The first stage of the rocket was set to land on a special floating sea platform however it ended up coming in too fast and subsequently broke in to pieces as it hit. On the plus side however the targeting was excellent and the overall results were deemed promising.

"Close, but no cigar," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter. "Bodes well for the future tho'. Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced."

If may take a while, but if the descent can be perfected then the system has the potential to revolutionize rocket launches and make space exploration more affordable than ever before.

Source: BBC News | Comments (14)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
At least it was a private company, and not the government. What is your point exactly?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Karasu 9 years ago
What is your point exactly? At least I didn't have to pay for it.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
At least I didn't have to pay for it. Not entirely true but I'll get to that in a moment. Even if this was a government launcher it did exactly what it it was supposed to do; put a payload in the correct orbit. The attempted landing was purely experimental. SpaceX gave the chances of success as no better than 50/50. As for the fact that they failed to land it properly, so what? If this had been any other rocket that first stage would have been dropped into the ocean anyway. How then (excepting a few minor repairs to the landing platform) would this have cost you a cent more than if they hadn't... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Karasu 9 years ago
Not entirely true but I'll get to that in a moment. Even if this was a government launcher it did exactly what it it was supposed to do; put a payload in the correct orbit. The attempted landing was purely experimental. SpaceX gave the chances of success as no better than 50/50. As for the fact that they failed to land it properly, so what? If this had been any other rocket that first stage would have been dropped into the ocean anyway. How then (excepting a few minor repairs to the landing platform) would this have cost you a cent more than if they hadn't attempted the landing? As I said you ... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
It's just a snarky comment. Then there is a simple solution, cut out the snarky comments. This is a discussion forum. If you want to get involved in discussions feel free. If all you want to do is make snarky comments then this probably isn't the place for you.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
There is an interesting analysis at the end of the linked article http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30752515 written by Jonathan Amos, the BBC Science correspondent, discussing the pluses and minuses of a reusable rocket. One point is that reusability can be expensive and even if costs are reasonable, clients will be apt to see the delivery vehicle as second hand machinery being used to launch their precious satellite. Hadn't thought of that and I would guess that will be the response until SpaceX has successfully returned their rockets numerous times.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Timonthy 9 years ago
As previously commented: 50/50 was the conservative estimate for the success of the vertical landing of the rocket on the ocean drone. It sounds like they were very close to success: From Wiki: Results of first landing attempt SpaceX did attempt a landing on the drone ship on 10 January. Many of the test objectives were achieved, including precision control of the rocket's descent to land on the platform at a specific point in the south Atlantic ocean and a large amount of test data was obtained from the first use of grid fin control surfaces used for more precise reentry positioning. However ... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
As previously commented: 50/50 was the conservative estimate for the success of the vertical landing of the rocket on the ocean drone. It sounds like they were very close to success: From Wiki: Results of first landing attempt SpaceX did attempt a landing on the drone ship on 10 January. Many of the test objectives were achieved, including precision control of the rocket's descent to land on the platform at a specific point in the south Atlantic ocean and a large amount of test data was obtained from the first use of grid fin control surfaces used for more precise reentry positioning. However ... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Falcon 9 First Stage Crashes During Attempted LandingOn 10th January 2015 SpaceX attempted to recover the first stage of a Falcon 9 vehicle by landing it on football field sized barge in the Atlantic.After small guidance wings ran out of hydraulic fluid the booster lost control and crashed into the barge.This footage was released by SpaceX founder Elon Musk.Credit: SpaceXSource: Elon Musk's Twitter Feed
Comment icon #14 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
WOW that was violent! Nice catch Waspie, I didn't thank any video was available due to wx.


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