SpaceX launches Satel­lite, but fails to land rocket

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

FLORIDA: SpaceX has an­other launch un­der its belt, but not an­other rocket land­ing. The left­over first-stage booster hit the float­ing plat­form hard Fri­day, said SpaceX chief Elon Musk. The com­pany never ex­pected to nail this land­ing, he said, be­cause of the faster speed of the booster that was re­quired to de­liver the satel­lite to an ex­tra-high or­bit.

SpaceX scored a rocket land­ing on the ground at Cape Canaveral in De­cem­ber, but has yet to nail a trick­ier barge land­ing at sea. The good news, though, is that the un­manned Fal­con 9 rocket suc­cess­fully hoisted the broad­cast­ing satel­lite for Lux­em­bourg-based com­pany SES.

It was the fifth launch at­tempt over the past 1½ weeks; Sun­day's try ended with an en­gine shut­down a split se­cond be­fore liftoff. Fri­day's sun­set launch pro­vided a stun­ning treat along the coast.

As it has tried a hand­ful of times be­fore, SpaceX at­tempted to land the dis­carded first-stage booster on a barge, this time 400 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral. Right be­fore touch­down, 10 min­utes into the flight, the TV cam­era on the plat­form cut out, draw­ing loud groans from the crowd gath­ered at com­pany head­quar­ters in Hawthorne, Cal­i­for­nia.

"Didn't ex­pect this one to work (v hot reen­try), but next flight has a good chance," Musk later re­ported via Twit­ter - more than an hour af­ter liftoff. This mis­sion re­quired that the booster fly much faster than usual and there­fore burn up more fuel, leav­ing less for a pre­ci­sion touch­down. There were plenty of cheers, none­the­less, as the se­cond-stage suc­cess­fully lifted the satel­lite higher and higher, and even more when the satel­lite sep­a­rated suc­cess­fully in full cam­era view.

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