SpaceX Releases Video of Falcon 9 Rocket Explosion1 min read

SpaceX just released a surprising video showing the destruction of the Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster after it landed on a floating ocean platform in the Atlantic Ocean. The crash followed a successful re-supply mission to the International Space Station last Jan. 10.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted images taken from the video on his Twitter account Friday. He explained those images show the booster landed hard on the landing barge after the steering fins lost power. The booster hit the barge at a 45 degree angle and the engines exploded into a massive plume of smoke and fire.

The first stage descended back to Earth and fired its nine Merlin engines thrice for a flyback maneuver. It was aiming for a vertical touchdown on the floating launch pad some 200 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The booster is about 14 storeys high and has four landing legs and four grid fins for additional aerodynamic control upon descent, Musk said the wings ran out of hydraulic fluid just moments before landing.

The floating ocean launch pad is a 300 foot-long ship used for the first ever landing attempt of a rocket. It returned to port in in Jacksonville, Florida on Jan. 12 and appears to show no obvious signs of serious damage. The containers that housed support equipment on the deck were charred and crumpled from the crash, however.

This landing attempt was an attempt to make SpaceX’s rockets reusable to cut down on expensive space mission costs.

Musk and SpaceX will conduct another launch test flight to test their rockets for reusability on Jan. 31 in collaboration with NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory.

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Sebastien Clarke

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