Technical glitch sees Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon rocket crash land in sea

Technical glitch sees Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon rocket crash land in sea

The booster was also the first to launch from all three of SpaceX's pads (Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Vandenberg). Dragon got up and out as planned, fulfilling the day's primary mission objective. It's not done, however, as it will head back into SpaceX's refurbishing program to be used again. The sight triggered a mixture of anxious "oohs" and "aahs" from SpaceX employees who were watching, then the booster's video feed cut out from the broadcast. In the background, viewers could still hear the team on-console making callouts as the rocket's landing burn started, culminating in a call for the landing team to "move to contingency procedure [s]", the only SpaceX affirmation that something went wrong. As USA Today notes, the rocket's booster was the first Falcon 9 to launch three missions, an important part of the company's plan to reduce costs by reusing rockets. The horizon is vertical, at right; the waffle-iron-looking things are two of the booster's "grid fins".

Despite this off-nominal recovery, Falcon 9 successfully placed Cargo Dragon into what John Insprucker deemed a highly accurate orbit, leaving the spacecraft to make its way to the International Space Station between now and Saturday.

'Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data. The booster remained intact, according to Musk, who said ships were sent out to recover the rocket.

Hypersonic grid fins help the booster steer its way back for a precision touchdown. He once famously described the disastrous crash of an early Falcon 9 booster as "rapid unscheduled disassembly".

"Pump is single string. Given this event, we will likely add a backup pump & lines".

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Musk also addressed the video dropout in another tweet, calling the webcast cutaway a mistake. Musk admitted that was a mistake, and vowed to "show all footage, good or bad". The stage, at one point spinning rapidly, ended up touching down on the surface of the ocean a few kilometers offshore. And if it is on land it avoids buildings. Falcon 9's first stage for the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission previously supported the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 mission in May and the Merah Putih mission in August.

"Public safety was well protected here", he told AP.

If the booster had veered off-course more than two minutes before landing, Gebhardt said, then it would have exploded.

The launch can be viewed online for free via the SpaceX YouTube channel here. Musk noted via Twitter.

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