SpaceX is binging on rocket launches and landing attempts this year. While the company is 2 for 2 with crashing the theoretically-reusable Falcon 9 rocket into its autonomous drone ship instead of landing gently, this photo has us admiring just how good it looks while failing.
Failed Falcon 9 barge landing attempt on April 14, 2015. Image credit: SpaceX
This photo is from the April 14th landing attempt following the rocket’s launch of the Dragon capsule to the International Space Station for a cargo run. The first landing attempt in January failed due to insufficient hydraulic fluid. The next attempt was cancelled due to rough seas, and the barge ship upgraded to provide greater stability in higher waves. This landing attempt came in at too high of an angle, slamming into the barge instead of balancing neatly. While each attempt has exploded ferociously all over the decks of Just Read The Instructions, each attempt is also a learning experience for the SpaceX crew to improve their efforts for the following flight.
The Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon capsule on a cargo run to the International Space Station on April 14, 2015. Image credit: SpaceX
The Falcon 9 has previously soft-landed on ground at the SpaceX test facility, and on the ocean following launches. Several more attempts to land on the barge are scheduled for this year after each launch that leaves the Falcon 9 with enough fuel for a controlled reentry.