As reported by Planetary Society and TechCrunch: Genius futurist, entrepreneur and expert Twiterrer Elon Musk revealed some new information about SpaceX’s most recent reusable rocket landing attempt following the launch of its Dragon space capsule to resupply the International Space Station. In a conversation with John Carmack, formerly of ID and current VR software guru at Oculus, Musk shared still frames from SpaceX’s autonomous seafaring drone landing ship, which show the rocket’s RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly) in spectacular glory.
Musk had previously revealed that the rocket landed hard, but despite its fantastic fireball, the test was actually a relative success for SpaceX’s efforts to recapture its first stage rocket for re-use. Explosions aren’t always signs of failure when you’re dealing with science, and in the case of spacefaring tech that’s even more true.
After posting the photos (and new SpaceX Vine, just added) above, Musk also reiterated that SpaceX will get another chance to test the landing and recovery capabilities of its reusable rockets and the autonomous barges it is using as mobile landing platforms in about two to three weeks’ time. With his trademark wry humour, he said the next test would involve “way more hydraulic fluid,” and that it “sh[ould] explode for a diff[erent] reason” at the very least. Failing for new reasons is basically the definition of scientific progress, is basically what he’s getting at.
Musk ended his flurry of tweets saying his motivation in posting the photos to Carmack is a desire to get the legendary programmer back into aerospace tech. Carmack founded Armadillo Aerospace back in 2000, with the aim of building suborbital space tourism spacecraft, but essentially shuttered the project in 2013, so Musk may be only half-kidding.