SpaceX launched a large resupply mission to the International Space Station today, and got one step closer to successfully landing the rocket back on a barge. Admittedly, that step was tipping the rocket over on the barge, but they’re definitely getting closer.
The private space company has been testing out reusable tech for its Falcon 9 rockets, and they’re using pretty much every upcoming launch as an opportunity to try and bring the rocket back and land it on a barge. Rockets are one of the most expensive things about space travel, so if they can finally work the kinks out of this process, it’ll save a ton of money.
The launch, which carried everything from 4,000 pounds of food to a new espresso maker to the ISS, went off without a hitch in the company’s cutting-edge Dragon capsule. The rocket apparently made it back to the landing barge and was on target — a feat in itself — but tipped over after reaching the barge, as opposed to making a soft landing. Hey, getting back there is half the battle. At least they didn't completely slam into it again.
Ascent successful. Dragon enroute to Space Station. Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2015
We falcon punched the barge... @SpaceX CRS-6— SpaceX Engineer (@SpaceXEngineer) April 14, 2015
#Dragon's solar arrays have deployed, spacecraft now safely on its way to the space station.— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 14, 2015
Looks like Falcon landed fine, but excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over post landing pic.twitter.com/eJWzN6KSJa— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2015
Odds were less than 50 percent for a successful landing today, but SpaceX founder Elon Musk believes they have an 80 percent chance of pulling it off by the end of the year (since they have several more launches on the way to try and refine the process).
This seems to have been the closest attempt yet, so we're inclined to believe him.