SpaceX Scores Another Successful Commercial Launch, But Breaks Landing Streak

Liftoff Credit SpaceX

Credit SpaceX

It was definitely a case of mixed results for SpaceX today, as the company carried off another successful commercial launch of its Falcon 9 booster, but saw an attempted fourth consecutive drone ship landing come up short when one of three engines performing a last second deceleration burn under-performed, resulting in a hard landing on the ever forgiving “Of Course I Still Love You.”

On a much brighter note, the Falcon 9 successfully delivered the twin Boeing built all electric satellites to their intended drop off point, and both have checked in, indicating that they are in good health. Flying today were the Eutelsat 117 West B and ABS 2A communications satellites, which were placed in a supersynchronous transfer orbit.

As for the landing, for a moment it appeared that the booster had indeed touched down on the drone ship, but a rapidly expanding cloud of smoke and fire obscured the view, leaving the live webcast hosts, the SpaceX employees in the background at its Hawthorne headquarters, and those watching on the internet in doubt as to the outcome.

After taking a brief pause while waiting for the second stage to re-light for its transfer burn, the hosts came back on to announce that the landing effort had failed. After three straight successes, two on high velocity re-turns like this one, it almost came as a surprise. That in itself is an indication of just how far SpaceX has come in just the last six months since it recorded the first successful landing on December 21st, 2015.

As usual, founder and CEO Elon Musk gave the initial details, as always, via Twitter.


and as is also generally the case, SpaceX is already working on a fix,




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2 Comments on "SpaceX Scores Another Successful Commercial Launch, But Breaks Landing Streak"

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  1. Keith Pickering says:

    Counting the landing at the cape, that’s 4 successes in the last 5 landing attempts. That’s very good, but I can see why SpaceX needs better numbers than that to make launches significantly cheaper.

  2. Nathan Marcus says:

    That’s great!! There is Something to learn from every attempt.

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