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SpaceX Attempts Innovative Rocket Landing

Back in May of 2012, the first private capsule ever to dock at the International Space Station was launched over 200 miles into space.  Named the Dragon, this capsule successfully delivered more than 1,000 pounds of food, clothing and other equipment to the space station and was reloaded with trash, research results, samples and other miscellaneous items.  It was the first of  twelve contracted flights to the ISS by the company.

Since then, the company has continued to launch a number of successful flights.  Most recently, in an effort to cut costs of future launches by recycling craft parts, the company attempted a tough controlled landing of one of its Falcon 9 rockets.  The space craft was launched early Saturday to carry supplies up to the International Space Station and was set to arrive safely back on earth via soft touchdown on a floating landing pad. 

The attempted landing failed, however, leaving company founder Elon Musk to comment “Close, but no cigar this time.”  Musk is confident that a controlled landing is in the company’s near future, though, and is excited that the transition into reusable rockets could reduce the cost of space travel to 1% of current costs. 

SpaceX, first established in 2002, is currently receiving NASA funds to work under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program and aims to simplify, reduce the cost of and successfully implement commercial launch vehicles and systems. 

After the attempted landing of Falcon 9, Musk tweeted to followers, “Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced…Upcoming flight already has 50% more hydraulic fluid, so should have plenty of margin for landing attempt next month.”