SpaceX just released new high-resolution photos of last week's "challenging" rocket landing, taken from the company's drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You. The images were seemingly captured from two cameras on opposite sides of the ship, showing the high angle at which the rocket touched down on the floating barge.
Last week's landing marked the third time SpaceX has landed a Falcon 9 on a drone ship at sea, and fourth time overall the company has recovered a vehicle post-launch. Prior to launch, SpaceX expressed doubts that the vehicle would make it back in one piece, since it needed to transport the Thaicom-8 telecommunications satellite into a very high orbit above Earth. That made the landing trickier to pull off, but both the launch and landing were ultimately a success.
Pictures of the rocket's return to port do show the vehicle exhibiting a slight tilt
The Falcon 9 did land a little bit hard on the drone ship, though. CEO Elon Musk said that the rocket's landing speed was close to the maximum the vehicle can handle. The Falcon 9 even used up a contingency "crush core" designed to help absorb the energy from impact — something Musk said is easily replaceable. It also meant there was a risk of the rocket tipping over during its transport back to land, which thankfully didn't happen. However, pictures of the rocket's return to port do show the vehicle exhibiting a slight tilt.