SpaceX Launches Station Supply Ship; Booster Landing Unsuccessful
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully boosted a space station cargo ship into orbit Saturday, but an unprecedented attempt to land the rocket’s first stage on a barge stationed off the coast of Florida was not successful, ending with an apparent crash landing that prompted company founder Elon Musk to tweet: “close, but no cigar.”
Recovering, refurbishing and relaunching rocket stages that otherwise would be thrown away is a major element in Musk’s ambitious push to reduce the cost of spaceflight by operating a rocket company much like a commercial airline, re-flying boosters rather than building them from scratch for each flight.
In a series of tweets, Musk confirmed the first stage made it from the edge of space back down to the “autonomous spaceport drone ship” but said its velocity was apparently too high and the booster “landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho.”