SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket today, on the CRS-3 mission to the International Space Station. The Falcon 9 successfully deployed its secondary CubeSat payloads, and the Dragon capsule is now on its way to ISS.

The hoped-for test of the Falcon 9 first-stage recovery may not be successful, however. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the chances of recovering the first stage were not looking good due to high sea states. (Waves over six feet have been reported.) SpaceX previously estimated that the chances of recovering the stage on the first test mission were low, probably no more than 20-30%, and several trials will likely be needed to achieve success.

[Update: Apparently, the first-stage landing went went better than expected. A tweet from Elon Musk says, “Data upload from tracking plane shows landing in Atlantic was good! Several boats enroute through heavy seas. Flight computers continued transmitting for 8 seconds after reaching the water. Stopped when booster went horizontal.]

[Update 2: The Coast Guard reportedly located the stage April 22, but it’s likely in bad shape after being battered by waves for several days.]

Written by Astro1 on April 18th, 2014 , SpaceX

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