SpaceX Fails Ocean Landing January 17
Following up on our coverage of space tourism efforts in general, SpaceX is trying this weekend to once again land a rocket on an ocean platform.
Following up on our coverage of SpaceX and space tourism efforts in general, SpaceX is trying this weekend (January 17) to once again land a rocket on an ocean platform. [UPDATE: Although the mission to deliver a satellite for NASA was a success, the Falcon 9 did not make the landing. The rocket exploded spectacularly after toppling over on the landing platform. No injuries have been reported.]
Elon Musk’s firm recently landed its Falcon 9 rocket successfully on solid ground, in a story that made headlines around the world. It is important to remember once more that these landings are vertical and have only worked on dry land.
Previous attempts to set down the rocket’s first stage on a floating barge in the Atlantic Ocean have failed but the California-based company will try again on January 17, a spokesman confirmed.
So, turn your hopeful eyes skyward that day (or night as it might be in your part of the world) because reusable rockets represent our best chance of visiting outer space (unless you are an astronaut).
This time, the Falcon 9 will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
According to NASA, the rocket will carry “Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue US – European satellite measurements of the topography of the ocean surface.”
The launch is planned for 1:42 pm Eastern time (1842 GMT), at the opening of a 30-second launch window. A backup launch opportunity will occur on January 18 at 1:31 pm (1831 GMT).
SpaceX, headed by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, has tried three times before to land its Falcon 9 on what it calls a “droneship” platform, marked with an X.
Each attempt failed, after the rocket either missed, collided with the barge or tipped over after setting down.
On December 22, the company celebrated its first successful landing of the rocket’s first stage on solid ground, as part of SpaceX’s mission to make rockets reusable, much like airplanes.
The goal is to bring down the cost of rocket launches and make space flight more affordable and sustainable in the years to come.
This report was compiled by in-house writers, in combination with a wire report and image from the AFP.