Today SpaceX successfully launched its latest mission to the International Space Station, but couldn't reach its goal of safely landing the rocket's first stage on a barge. According to CEO Elon Musk, while the ascent was successful, the "Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival." There's no video of the landing attempt yet, but hopefully soon we'll be able to see how close it came. This outcome isn't entirely unexpected, as Musk tweeted yesterday that the chance of a successful landing by the end of the year stands at 80 percent only because the company has so many launches planned. NASA video replaying the launch is embedded after the break.
Update 3: The video is here, watch the full landing -- and explosion now.
Update: We have pictures! Elon Musk reveals that the rocket landed on the ship, but "excess lateral velocity" caused it to tip over. That's a bad thing for a rocket booster measuring 224 feet high and capable of weighing as much as 1,115,200 lbs. "Normal video" of the crash-landing should be available when the barge gets back to port in a few days.
Update 2: The first video of the attempt is here! Check after the break for a quick Vine clip of the rocket swinging in from space as it tries to land on the relatively tiny "Just Read the Instructions" barge.
Ok, looks like we got some killer footage from the chase plane. Big ocean, small ship. Posting vid shortly pic.twitter.com/2F5FK0TZ0i- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 15, 2015
@ID_AA_Carmack Thanks! 3 of 9 engines are lit initially, dropping to 1 near ground. Even w 1 lit, it can't hover, so always land at high g- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 15, 2015
@ID_AA_Carmack Looks like the issue was stiction in the biprop throttle valve, resulting in control system phase lag. Should be easy to fix.- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 15, 2015
Looks like Falcon landed fine, but excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over post landing pic.twitter.com/eJWzN6KSJa- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2015
Ascent successful. Dragon enroute to Space Station. Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival.- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2015
#Dragon's solar arrays have deployed, spacecraft now safely on its way to the space station.- SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 14, 2015