The fourth time was not the charm for Space X on Friday, which again failed at the tricky task of landing a rocket on a floating platform in the middle of the ocean.
The launch went perfectly with the Falcon 9 rocket blasting off from Cape Canaveral with the SES-9 satellite on board, a communications and TV satellite that will be positioned over Asia.
But satellite launches are very reliable these days. What makes Space X launches interesting is the first-stage landing. A very complex maneuver that involves controlling the fall of the rocket’s first stage to it lands upright on a small platform bouncing around in the sea.
Space X failed at this three times: first in January 2015
And then this attempt in April 2015, the rocket looks like it’s made a successful landing, then it gets enveloped by smoke and finally tips over at the last moment.
And this was January this year.
So engineers at Space X’s factoring in California were on edge as a video feed from the platform appeared …
And then silence until this tweet from CEO Elon Musk confirmed the landing wasn’t a success.
Space X has already said it didn’t expect the attempt to be successful, in part because the rocket used to launch SES-9 was bigger and heavier than those used previously.
But it suceeded in landing a rocket in December, when a Falcon landed on solid ground at Cape Canaveral, making history, so many expect they’ll eventually get it right.