Mixed results for this Friday's SpaceX mission. The private space company has thus correctly positioned a Dragon capsule carrying equipment and food in orbit. The automatic module then stowed well with the ISS without any particular problem.
But SpaceX also wanted to take advantage of this mission to test some new features implemented on its rocket. Thus, while all of the propulsion modules were destroyed and sacrificed when the capsule was placed in orbit, it was a question here of recovering the vast majority of the rocket's body by allowing it to return to Earth.
The objective: to land it precisely on a barge 200 meters long by 90 meters wide positioned in the Atlantic Ocean.
Thanks to adjustable flaps and various thrusters, the rocket succeeded in aiming at the platform. But she was not able to slow her fall down enough and crashed heavily on the barge.
Elon Musk said that the incident had caused some damage to the barge and that some equipment will have to be replaced, but that the mission was not entirely a failure. There was talk of a 50% chance of success at this point in the evolution of the Falcon 9 rocket.
The company is pleased to have succeeded in controlling the position of the rocket with sufficient precision. And the technique is complex since the 10-meter-high rocket is largely subject to wind, and the barge on which it will have to land is in constant motion.
SpaceX will continue to test its landing procedures over the next cargo shipments to the ISS, this was the fifth of the twelve resupply missions planned with NASA.