This footage of a SpaceX rocket almost landing on barge in the Pacific (before exploding) is awesome.

This footage of a SpaceX rocket almost landing on barge in the Pacific (before exploding) is awesome.
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The rocket was destroyed, but it made a pretty sweet Vine.


Cool, look at it controlling itself! COOL, IT'S OUT OF CONTROL!!!
Click the bottom-right for sound.

Last week, Elon Musk's private rocket company SpaceX attempted to make history by landing a Falcon 9 rocket under its own power on a GPS-enabled "drone ship" in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Falcon 9 had already delivered a Dragon space capsule loaded with supplies and Christmas presents to the International Space Station, but putting that into orbit was only half of the rocket's mission. It came within seconds of a successful touchdown (which would be a HUGE step towards reusable rockets and bringing down the cost of spaceflight) before the rocket ran out of hydraulic fluid to power its steering fins, which (as you can see in the Vine) caused it to suddenly veer off course and explode.

This is rocket science folks, and it's the kind of rocket science that even rocket scientists are intimidated by. Vertically landing a rocket is so hard that people were impressed when SpaceX made history by doing it in the desert with a specially-made test rocket, the Grasshopper (watch below), which only went up a few hundred meters in the air before coming back down (they also proved it could go side-to-side, as well). Obviously, that gets even harder when you're landing an object that's falling all the way from orbit. Doing it in the ocean is a good idea, because there is no one around to accidentally kill, which is also the logic behind using a self-positioning drone ship.

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After the failure of United Launch Alliance's Antares rocket last year, and the subsequent grounding of those rockets, it's pretty much up to SpaceX to keep the ISS astronauts fed and supplied, so they'll have another shot soon enough.

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