By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
SpaceX, the private rocket company created by Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, just successfully delivered 6 commercial communications satellites to orbit around the Earth. They were carried on the Falcon 9 rocket which Musk is designing to be reusable, and the 224-foot craft almost made it back to Earth safely in one piece.
Unfortunately, when the rocket splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, it did not fully survive intact. Musk took to Twitter to explain, “Rocket booster reentry, landing burn & leg deploy were good, but lost hull integrity right after splashdown (aka kaboom).”
Still, SpaceX was mainly focused on testing the “flyback” ability of the rocket, slowing its descent back to the surface with thrusters and prepping landing legs. Once they do perfect the safe return of the craft, it will save companies millions of dollars in costs usually required to make new ones.
Back in April, SpaceX did manage to return the booster safely to the water after a launch, but then it was destroyed by stormy seas. As for this most recent trip to space, it’s part of a $230 million, 17-satellite upgrade of Orbcomm’s communications services, the rest of which may be taken up to space on a Falcon 9 later in 2014. It was the 10th launch of a Falcon 9 since 2010, and SpaceX will be launching another commercial communications satellite next month.
Images courtesy of SpaceX Facebook.