Elon Musk recently discussed the reason for the failure Space X Falcon 9 landing. As previously reported, Space X has been working on landing their Falcon 9 rocket on a floating barge since the beginning of the year. The third failed attempt occurred last Tuesday following a launch of a Dragon capsule to the ISS (International Space Station).
On the most recent attempt, they almost managed a successful landing of the Falcon 9 rocket onto the floating barge. Prior to this attempt to land the rocket, SpaceX CEO Musk had noted the success rate to be 50/50. He stated that the rocket had actually “landed fine, but excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over post landing.”
According to Musk, when a spacecraft is launched, the rocket used for the launch will either splash down into the ocean or simply burn up in the atmosphere. This makes space missions more costly. Musk, therefore, wants to recover and reuse rockets.
Paul Huter, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics aerospace engineer told the press that landing the rocket on a barge is more convenient.
He stated: “The rocket is launching out over the Atlantic ocean, so the easiest place to land it would be straight out into the ocean. Now, obviously, this presents challenges when compared to landing (a rocket) on solid ground as something at sea is constantly moving around. But in terms of energy required (most of which has already been used during the launch), it is more efficient to try and land on something in the ocean.”
Musk announced they will make a fourth attempt this June when the Dragon spacecraft will head for the ISS for yet another resupply mission. They hope to have the rocket technology perfected by then
Huter, however, does not expect it to happen that soon. He concluded: “I think SpaceX has the capability and the know-how to land on the floating barge, but there are a lot of variables that need to be taken into consideration, which make it a difficult task. With unlimited time and money, they could pull it off and revolutionize space launch technology. But they only have so many launches, and each failure costs them money.”
Elon Musk Explains Falcon 9 Landing Failure