A few weeks ago SpaceX accomplished a monumental task. They landed the Falcon 9 rocket successfully on land. Today, a rocket was launched and was attempting to land on a sea barge. However, it was unsuccessful in doing so. The weather did not cooperate and one of the landing and broke one of its landing legs. However, the good news of this mission is that the Jason 3 has been successfully put in orbit. This was the main mission goal.
First stage on target at droneship but looks like hard landing; broke landing leg. Primary mission remains nominal → https://t.co/tdni53IviI
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 17, 2016
Why didn’t SpaceX just have the space ship touch down on land?
The rocket launched today did not have enough power to touch down on land. Also, SpaceX was not able to get permission for a landing on ground in time for this launch. When the rockets go up, their downward trajectory mostly ends up on water. When SpaceX wanted the spacecraft to come to land, they had to use extra fuel and power to correct its normal trajectory to go to land.
The graphic above details how a barge landing takes place. You can clearly see how the natural path of the rocket is to land in the ocean and not on land.
Another advantage of landing on the ocean is that if something goes wrong, it is near the ocean and not in the path of any humans.
The image below shows how the booster came back and landed in nearly the same spot.
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