SpaceX Crash-Landed a Rocket on a Drone Barge (Again)

Illustration for article titled SpaceX Crash-Landed a Rocket on a Drone Barge (Again)

Well, that’s a hat trick! For the third time this year , SpaceX attempted to launch a Falcon 9 rocket and autonomously land the first stage portion on an unmanned barge. And for the third time this year, that (very expensive) rocket crashed and burned.

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Elon Musk gave the official, albeit disappointing, announcement on Twitter:

Musk later clarified:

There’s a fine line between landed, crash-landed, and just plain crashed. Regardless, successfully landing a rocket on a robot ship is very difficult! In this case, it sounds like it was slightly more “crash” than “landed”. SpaceX hasn’t yet released video of the actual impact, but this is what it looked like last time.

The launch looked beautiful, though.

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DISCUSSION

So someone run this by me again. What is the point in landing this rocket on a barge rather than parachuting it into the ocean? I haven’t followed this experiment at all, so be gentle.