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SpaceX's drone ship returns to port damaged

SpaceX's drone ship returns to port damaged

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SpaceX took a big step towards creating a reusable rocket this weekend when it finally tested both its drone spaceport ship and the x-wing-equipped Falcon 9 rocket. After a series of delays dating back to December, the launch went off without a hitch but the rocket impacted the barge too heavily on landing for it be salvaged. Spaceflight Now has pictures of the barge returning to port yesterday, which detail the outcome of the crash. The result still bodes well for the future of reusable rockets

Confirming what Musk tweeted on Saturday the ship appears to be fine structurally, but there's damage on its surface and to the cargo containers along the edge. Though the hope was obviously to land the rocket cleanly, he said the result still "bodes well for the future."

While the landing was on target, the fins — which balance the rocket during its descent — ran out of hydraulic fluid right before it impacted the barge. According to Musk, the rocket scheduled to fly next month is already equipped with 50% more fluid.

Meanwhile, in orbit, the Dragon capsule that SpaceX launched completed its docking with the ISS this morning. The astronauts on board will begin unpacking its contents tomorrow. It was the first resupply mission to the station since Orbital Science's Antares rocket exploded shortly after liftoff back in October.