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The “autonomous spaceport drone ship” that SpaceX built to recover the Falcon 9 first stage.
The “autonomous spaceport drone ship” that SpaceX built to recover the Falcon 9 first stage.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket landed on a barge in the Atlantic a few minutes ago, but the landing was “too hard for survival” of the rocket, according to Elon Musk, the company’s CEO.

It’s the second time a Falcon 9 has crash-landed on the “autonomous drone ship.” Figuring this out will be key to making commercial space more economical by recovering and reusing booster rockets.

The launch of the Falcon 9 was successful, putting the Dragon spaceship into orbit, en route to the International Space Station. On board is a test satellite from Seattle-area asteroid mining company Planetary Resources. The company is looking to recover from the loss of its earlier satellite as part of the October explosion of an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket lifting off from Wallops, Va.

Update, 2 p.m. Here’s the latest from Elon Musk

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