South African born entrepreneur Elon Musk may not have successfully landed a rocket booster on Earth last week, but at least he’s not sore about it. He’s just posted these pics to his Twitter account showing the Falcon 9 “landing” on an ocean-going barge last weekend.
Rather, he’s describing it as a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” event, or RUD. Here’s a Storify put together by James Pontifex.
The ultimate hope is that by successfully landing booster rockets on Earth and reusing them – rather than letting them burn up on reentry – Musk’s SpaceX firm will return the cost of sending things into orbit by a factor of 10 or so. There’s still some work to be done, clearly, but hey – at least this particular rocket hit its target, and the barge itself was unharmed.
Apparently the crash was caused by the hydraulic system used to power the fins and steer the capsule running out of fluid.
Interestingly, the tweets were addressed to game developer John Carmack of Oculus VR (former id Software) also well known for his enthusiasm for private sector space travel although his company, Armadillo Airspace, is currently in ‘hibernation’.[Images – Elon Musk’s Twitter stream]