CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 16 (UPI) -- From NASA's perspective, Tuesday's resupply missions was a success. The rocket went off without a hitch, and the cargo-filled Dragon capsule is safely en route to the International Space Station.
But for SpaceX, the second half of the mission -- and the one everyone was most excited about -- proved to be another failure (albeit one CEO Elon Musk predicted). Yet again, the aerospace company's first-stage booster from the Falcon 9 rocket failed to return safely to Earth.
As happened on the last attempt, the reusable rocket crash-landed on the floating platform -- coming in too hot, and then tipping over and exploding. SpaceX isn't exactly embarrassed. They released a rather clear video of the fiery failure.
"Looks like Falcon landed fine, but excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over post landing," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter. Musk reported that the flaming rocket only caused minor damage to the platform.
In analyzing the video, Wired reporter Rhett Allain calculated that the rocket approached the platform at considerable speed and a slightly crooked angle.
"From this you can see that at first, the rocket had a fairly constant velocity in the vertical direction with a value around 35.8 m/s (86 mph)," Allain wrote.