SpaceX fails in third attempt to land reusable Falcon 9 rocket on barge

October 26, 2010 – 02:28 pm
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off.

SpaceX has failed to land a reusable rocket booster back on to its platform barge in the Atlantic, its third failed landing in as many attempts to revolutionize rockets used for spaceflight.

“Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival, ” tweeted Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company, just minutes after the rocket lifted off under clear skies from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) — Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

Musk and SpaceX hope that their experimental Falcon 9 rockets will be the first rockets to be able to safely land on Earth thanks to thrusters, which – in theory – could slow the rocket down from nearly a mile per second down to a parked position.

SpaceX has twice tried and failed to land a reusable Falcon 9 this year.

Reusable rockets could dramatically cut the cost of spaceflight, down from the millions it costs for each one-use rocket. Less expensive spaceflight means space agencies would have more resources to develop new technologies and send more missions into space – accelerating space exploration and the schedule for a journey to Mars.

For months, SpaceX has been attempting to perfect booster technology that could help humans land on bodies with less gravity than earth (such as Mars) and then – most importantly – safely back on Earth.

The company has compared landing the rocket, roughly the height of a 14-storey building, to “trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a wind storm”.


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