Watch SpaceX Launch a Rocket—and Attempt an Even More Difficult Drone Ship Landing

Image: SpaceX’s first drone ship landing, as seen from the drone ship / SpaceX
Image: SpaceX’s first drone ship landing, as seen from the drone ship / SpaceX

Will SpaceX manage their next (and even trickier) attempt at landing a rocket neatly on a drone ship? Let’s watch and find out.


In the coming late night/early morning hours, SpaceX will be launching another of its Falcon 9 rockets—this one carting a JCSAT-14 communications satellite—and then attempting to set it down gently on a waiting drone ship below. SpaceX made its very first drone ship landing just last month, when a different Falcon 9 rocket touched down on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You minutes after having launched a resupply mission up to the ISS.

The touchdown came after a series of crashes, falls, and explosions as SpaceX figured out how to land on rocket on a ship. Now that the company has pulled off the feat, however, SpaceX has ushered in a new era for reusable rockets as well as the option to choose landing points almost anywhere on the ocean.

There is a catch. SpaceX says that this landing is “unlikely” to be a repeat of that success. Because this Falcon 9 is set for a geostationary transfer orbit, the rocket will be coming in much faster and hotter onto the Of Course I Still Love You than the last rocket. While it’s still possible SpaceX could manage a touchdown, the most likely outcome for this landing attempt is a crash.

The launch will take place at 1:21 am (EST) on May 6 (although the livestream will kick off about a half an hour prior). The launch was originally scheduled for that time yesterday, but was called off on account of weather. You can watch along with us right here.



We stuck our landing! Booyah!