SpaceX landed a rocket after sending it to space last month. It was a pretty big deal! But the next big step for the company comes today when it will attempt to land a second Falcon 9.
This time around, however, SpaceX won't be attempting to land at Cape Canaveral. Instead, the company will once again try to land the Falcon 9 on a drone ship in the ocean after delivering NASA's Jason-3 ocean-monitoring satellite to space. Musk's team came extremely close to sticking that sea landing on two separate occasions in 2015, but both attempts failed spectacularly. (Someone even made a video game out of it, which you should play while you wait.)
The last two ocean attempts met fiery ends
As SpaceX showed at the end of last year, these rocket launches and landings can provide all sorts of nail-biting drama, so Loren Grush and I will be live blogging the attempt starting at 1PM ET. Liftoff is at 1:42PM ET, and the landing will (hopefully!) take place about 10 minutes after that. The attempted landing should be a bit more suspenseful, though — landing at sea means we're not likely to see the same excellent live footage this time around.
SpaceX has already stated that it will attempt ocean landings on the next few launches, even if today's rocket doesn't land safely. The company certainly took a major step on the path to a fully reusable rocket when it landed that Falcon 9 back in December. But since that one won't fly again, and these water landings are tricky, we might make it well into 2016 before we see SpaceX try to launch a rocket that it's landed.