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SpaceX CRS-5 On Way To ISS, 1st Stage Lands 'Hard' On Droneship

Elon Musk: 1st Stage Landed 'Hard' On Drone Ship-- 'Close But No Cigar This Time'

Even from here up the coast at ANNHQ, the latest launch of a Falcon 9 v1.1 drove into the night sky for all to see. The successful launch, at 044710.119 ET, has put the CRS-5 mission on a solid footing for a rendezvous and delivery of its payload, this Monday.

According to SpaceX, this morning's 'successful launch of the Dragon spacecraft kicks off a two-day orbital pursuit of the International Space Station. Rendezvous and grapple of the spacecraft is expected to take place Monday morning. Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture Dragon at approximately 6 a.m. Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency will support Wilmore as they operate from the station’s cupola. NASA TV coverage of grapple will begin at 4:30 a.m.' 

The Dragon spacecraft will remain attached to the space station’s Harmony module for more than four weeks and then splash down in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, bringing with it almost two tons of experiment samples and equipment from the station.

All being said, the real drama behind this launch revolved around the SpaceX attempt to land the first stage on a robotic barge, stationed well off the coast, in the Atlantic Ocean. At this time, it appears that the First Stage DID land on the 'Droneport' but that the vehicle was lost in a 'hard landing.'

According to Musk, via a series of timely tweets, the first word was that, "Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho."

Shortly thereafter, we learned that the landing craft suffered some damage in the attempt, "Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced..."

The last word we have is that it may take a while to see what happened, as Musk noted, "Didn't get good landing/impact video. Pitch dark and foggy. Will piece it together from telemetry and ... actual pieces."




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