See SpaceX's Rocket Landing Crash Up Close with These Photos & Video

July 14, 2015 – 11:53 am

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stage crashed on the drone ship during a reusability test on Jan. 10, 2015. Image released Jan. 16, 2015.

SpaceX's drone ship didn't take on any serious damage, but it will need some relatively light repairs, according to Musk. The ship is a relatively small target at 300 feet long by 170 feet wide (91 by 52 meters) with its "wings" extended. The booster managed to target the platform when it was about 150 miles (240 kilometers) above the landing site.

The Falcon 9 rocket just begins to impact the drone ship floating in the Atlantic on Jan. 10, 2015. Image released Jan. 16, 2015.

Full RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) Event The reusability test itself was unprecedented. SpaceX performed two soft landings with Falcon 9 stages in 2014, but both of those were directly in the water, not on a platform. Because of the difficult nature of the test, company representatives didn't predict very high odds of success.

The boost stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket exploded on Jan. 10, 2015 as it impacted its landing platform in the Atlantic Ocean. Image released Jan. 16, 2015.

Residual Fuel and Oxygen Combine in Falcon 9 Rocket Crash Musk has long been interested in making reusable rockets a reality in order to dramatically reduce the cost of spaceflight.

The reusability test was not the main focus of the Saturday launch, however. The Dragon spacecraft successfully delivered its supplies to the space station as part of SpaceX's fifth official cargo mission to the orbiting outpost under a contract with NASA.

Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

Falcon 9 Rocket Begins to Impact Drone Ship


Miriam Kramer

Miriam Kramer joined as a staff writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also serves as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.
Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. You can follow Miriam on Twitter and Google+.


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