If the Tesla chief wants to fulfil his dream of reusing rocket parts after they have been galloping across the heavens, he needs to find a way to bring them safely back to earth. Landing vertically, the $61m Falcon 9 nearly made it, but topples over at the last minute because the lockout collet fails to latch onto one of the four legs. To the unskilled eye, the landing looks much better then last years attempt to land a Falcon, where the rocket simply smashed directly into the ground.
In the past, rockets were simply dropped into the ocean after use, but recent efforts by the likes of SpaceX and Amazon’s Blue Origin have looked to build reusable rockets, significantly bringing down the cost of space travel.
“If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred,” says Musk on the SpaceX website. “A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space.”
Only last month did the Falcon 9 successfully land on solid ground after fulfilling its mission, however, it seems that landing on a floating ocean barge was too tricky. The mission was not entirely unsuccessful though, as the rocket was able to deliver an ocean monitoring satellite to orbit, but SpaceX will not be saving any money this time.
Better luck next time Elon!