Since the company is now playing a key role in NASA’s strategy to ferry equipment and supplies to the International Space Station, SpaceX has a ton of opportunities to test out its cutting-edge rocket landing tech. Turns out the latest test got even closer than we’d initially thought.
The private space company’s successful launch earlier this week to shoot hundreds of pounds of food up to the ISS was a resounding success, but the later attempt to land the Falcon 9 rocket used for the launch back on a floating landing pad didn’t go quite as smoothly. First we’d heard the rocket fell over, but now the company has released footage of the landing attempt showing just how close it came to settling in gently on the target.
It was close. Darn close. You can see the rocket come down right on top of the landing pad, but horizontal momentum from trying to stabilize the landing is carrying it a bit too hard to the side. You can see it come down, almost perfect, then tip over into a fiery blaze. The odds were apparently less than 50 percent that they’d pull it off this time, but it looks like SpaceX is definitely closer than ever.
The benefits of getting this tech figured out is obvious — reusable rockets would save a ton of money by cutting down expenses, and SpaceX estimates they could reuse the same rocket several times (once they can land one without any damage). It looks like we’re almost there.