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