SpaceX Falcon 9 launch.
Today's launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 to the International Space Station (ISS) on its fifth commercial resupply (CRS-5) was successful. The Dragon spacecraft is safely in orbit heading towards a Monday rendezvous with the ISS. The SpaceX attempt of landing the first stage on the drone ship was not successful.
While the Falcon 9 first stage did reach the SpaceX Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, a milestone in of itself, the landing was hard according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and the result was the first stage was in pieces.
Musk tweeted the following comments shortly after the landing attempt:
Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 10, 2015
Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced...— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 10, 2015
Didn't get good landing/impact video. Pitch dark and foggy. Will piece it together from telemetry and ... actual pieces.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 10, 2015
The odds of success on the first attempt were never good. SpaceX will take the positives and lessons learned and try again at some point this year.
For NASA, its customer, the mission of launching Dragon and its much needed cargo to the ISS, was successful.
We'll post more details of the as they become available.
12:20 p.m. EST: More tweets from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
Grid fins worked extremely well from hypersonic velocity to subsonic, but ran out of hydraulic fluid right before landing.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 10, 2015
Upcoming flight already has 50% more hydraulic fluid, so should have plenty of margin for landing attempt next month.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 10, 2015
Am super proud of my crew for making huge strides towards reusability on this mission. You guys rock!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 10, 2015