SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space this afternoon, but – as expected – failed to land the vehicle on a drone ship at sea afterward.
After coping with a wayward boat, unfavorable winds and propellant problems, SpaceX finally launched the SES-9 telecommunication satellite on its Falcon 9 rocket today and then tried to land the rocket’s first stage on an oceangoing platform.
About 30 minutes into its flight, the rocket successfully deployed a communications satellite known as SES-9 into orbit.
The secondary test objective of SpaceX was to land the Falcon 9 rockets first stage on an ocean going barge about 300 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft’s 81 Ku-band transponders will provide communications services for parts of Asia, Australia and the Middle East.
However, SpaceX also attempted another rocket landing.
It was the first of three SES missions that SpaceX hopes to launch from the Cape this year, if the company can begin launching more often and with fewer delays. This was the rocket’s fifth launch attempt in the last week and a-half; Sunday’s effort ended with an engine shutdown, a split second before lift-off.
“Rocket landed hard on the droneship”, SpaceX Founder Elon Musk posted to his Twitter. There was no immediate word from SpaceX whether the landing was successful. Today’s attempt, which is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. EST, will be number five.
SES will be delighted to have its satellite in orbit.
So, stay tuned to see if SpaceX succeeds in its first ever ocean platform rocket landing attempt.
If the landing were successful, it would have one-upped the company’s historic December 21st launch and landing of a Falcon 9 rocket on solid ground.
Previous launches have been scrubbed, including one at the last second, for various reasons, including weather, fuel issues and a wayward boater. One of the rocket’s four landing legs failed to lock out, even as the Falcon 9 booster made a feathery touchdown on the drone ship in high seas.
In a report published by the CBSNews, “We met with SpaceX and said guys, how can you improve our mission profile?”