SpaceX landed a rocket on a platform in the ocean last week in the company's ongoing attempt to establish reusable rocket technology. CEO Elon Musk tweeted Saturday that the rocket landed too hard, but it was not clear exactly what happened, until now.
Musk held a tweet session with John Carmack, CTO of Oculus VR, and released some amazing images that show exactly what a hard landing looks like. No wonder that rocket was not recovered — basically, there was nothing to recover.
Here's a cool gif of all his pictures:
You can see that the rocket came in at an angle and was not fully upright. Look closely, and you can see the fins near the top of the rocket. These fins are what steered the rocket toward the barge and kept the rocket angled upright, but they ran out of power before landing, which is why the rocket landed too hard, according to Musk.
Some considered the landing attempt a success because of the precision required to guide the rocket from 50 miles above the earth's surface to a platform the size of a football field.
Others were less enthusiastic because of the rocket's hard landing.
And here's everything Musk tweeted:
SpaceX's Saturday launch of its Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon spacecraft full of cargo destined for the International Space Station came after multiple delays and reschedulings.
A first-stage rocket has never been recovered for reuse. Although Saturday's landing was not a complete success because the fins ran out of hydraulic fluid for power, SpaceX will attempt the landing again for its next launch, scheduled for the end of this month. And Musk tweeted that the company would be ready:
Next rocket landing on drone ship in 2 to 3 weeks w way more hydraulic fluid. At least it shd explode for a diff reason.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
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