SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket survived a 'spicy' landing at sea after launching the first ever private moon mission

falcon9 spacexFalcon9 seconds after landing on the droneship.SpaceX/YouTube

  • SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket endured "a rather spicy landing" on Thursday night returning from a successful mission.
  • During a tense livestreamed landing, SpaceX engineer Jessie Anderson said the rocket survived despite"challenging conditions" on the droneship - a robotic landing platform in the sea.
  • The SpaceX control room erupted with cheers and hollers as the 23-story rocket powered down on the landing craft in the Atlantic.
  • SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted: "Highest reentry heating to date. Burning metal sparks from base heat shield visible in landing video."
  • The rocket was returning from a mission to launch a trio of lunar craft into space, including a $100 million Israeli moon lander from SpaceIL - the first private mission to the moon.

Elon Musk's Falcon 9 rocket made "a rather spicy landing" on a Space X droneship on Thursday night after it successfully launched a trio of lunar craft into space.

Falcon 9 fell back through the earth's atmosphere after releasing its triple payload: SpaceIL's $100 million lunar lander, Indonesia's Nusantara Satu satellite, and a US Air Force research satellite.

A live stream of the mission captured the moment Falcon 9 landed safely back on a SpaceX droneship, a robotic landing platform deployed to see. The droneship is called "Of Course I still Love You."

Falcon 9 landed eight minutes and 48 seconds after taking off from Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral, Florida.

spacex falcom9Falcon9 emerges from the smoke and fog on Thursday night.SpaceX/YouTube

Speaking on the stream, SpaceX manufacturing engineer Jessie Anderson said: "We do have a successful first stage landing despite the challenging conditions here."

In the live streamed video, Falcon 9 is seen emerging from fog and smoke in one piece.

Read more: NASA's first moon landings in nearly 50 years may happen in 2019. The agency thinks these 9 companies can get it to the lunar surface.

Narrating the mission, program reliability engineer Kate Tice said Falcon 9 made "a successful landing - a rather spicy landing attempt - on our droneship Of Course I Still Love You."

spacex drone shipElon Musk

The US Air Force had said there was a 20% chance Falcon 9 would be delayed because of bad weather.

The 23-story Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on time at 8:45 p.m. ET, despite warnings.

After the landing Elon Musk tweeted: "Highest reentry heating to date. Burning metal sparks from base heat shield visible in landing video."

Watch the landing and full mission here, narrated by SpaceX staff:

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SpaceIL's "Beresheet" mission is the first-ever private moon landing attempt, started by a Google Lunar XPrize team backed by South African billionaire Morris Kahn. It plans to reach the moon on April 4 and land on April 11.

If the non-profit mission survives its weeks-long trip to the lunar surface, it will make Israel the fourth country ever to pull off a moon landing.

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