SpaceX Reusable Rocket Test Returns Booster to Earth, then 'Kaboom'

September 26, 2017 – 07:15 am

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Looking Back at EarthOn July 14, 2014, SpaceX tweeted a photo of its Falcon 9 rocket lifting off carrying ORBCOMM satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Credit: SpaceX (via Twitter as @SpaceX)

To help combat the spin problem, SpaceX engineers put landing legs on the Falcon 9 before another reusability test in April 2014. That trial came during the launch of SpaceX's robotic Dragon cargo capsule from Cape Canaveral, and it marked a significant improvement. Data showed that the rocket stage did indeed make a soft splashdown, landing upright in the water, though rough seas broke it apart before the recovery boat could get to it.

SpaceX aims to keep making swift progress with these reusability tests.

"If all goes well, I'm optimistic that we'll be able to land a stage back at Cape Canaveral by the end of the year, " Musk told reporters in April, after the Dragon launch. "Assuming that happens, we should be able to re-fly the main boost stage sometime next year."

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