SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket that landed on the deck of a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean on May 6 suffered “max damage” on landing due to its high speed.
CEO Elon Musk indicated the rocket may not be in good shape and probably won’t fly again.
“Most recent rocket took max damage, due to (very) high entry velocity,” Musk said on Twitter. “Will be our life leader for ground tests to confirm others are good.”
The first stage of the rocket, guided by GPS navigation aimed for SpaceX’s landing platform, or drone ship, positioned about 400 miles (650 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral.
Firing three engines to cut its speed by more than 300 mph in three seconds, the rocket’s first stage touched down, completing a high-speed, 75-mile drop.
With the rocket coming in “faster and hotter,” SpaceX had warned that a successful landing was unlikely. Although, it landed within six feet of its target.
The company’s next mission is targeted for May 26. SpaceX hopes to launch a communications satellite from Cape Canaveral and attempt another booster landing at sea.