SpaceX Rocket Barely Misses Drone Ship Landing – Video

The Falcon 9 rocket making its approach to the spaceport drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, April 14, 2015. Still image: SpaceX
The Falcon 9 rocket making its approach to the spaceport drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, April 14, 2015. Still image: SpaceX

More footage: SpaceX Rocket Landing in HD Video

A second attempt by SpaceX to land its re-usable Falcon 9 rocket aboard a ‘spaceport drone ship’ in the Atlantic Ocean did not go according to plan.

SpaceX’s unmanned Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft launched at 4:10 EDT Tuesday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on SpaceX’s sixth official mission to resupply the space station for NASA.

After successfully launching the Dragon spacecraft into orbit, the Falcon 9 rocket re-entered the earth’s atmosphere in an attempt for a soft landing aboard the autonomous ship, named “Just Read the Instructions”.

The rocket made it to the ship, but “excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over”, SpaceX said in a statement.

The landing. Photo: SpaceX
The landing. Photo: SpaceX

The mission was the second attempt by SpaceX to land the Falcon 9 rocket aboard the ship. The company’s goal is to land the rocket safely so that it could be reused, which would significantly reduce the cost spaceflight.

The first attempt to land the rocket was in January. That time, the rocket reached the ship, but came down too hard and exploded on impact.

The drone spaceport ship is basically a fancy name for a modified unmanned barge, which was developed with and built by LAD Services, LLC, a fabrication and repair company that has 3 shipyard facilities in Louisiana.

SpaceX’s next landing and recovery attempt will occur during the CRS-7 mission, currently targeted for June 2015.

Here’s quick clip of the Falcon 9 rocket coming down: