SpaceX Says Next Rocket Landing Attempt 'Unlikely' to Be Successful

SpaceX has already shown it has the ability to recycle a rocket but the company expects its next attempt to land a Falcon 9 at sea will be unsuccessful.

ByAlyssa Newcomb
May 05, 2016, 7:04 AM

— -- SpaceX has already shown it has the ability to recycle a rocket, but the company expects its next attempt to land a Falcon 9 at sea will be unsuccessful.

Launching from Cape Canaveral at 1:21 a.m. ET Friday, Elon Musk's private space company will deliver a Japanese commercial communications satellite into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit high above the Earth's surface.

Getting the JCSAT-14 into that orbit will require higher speeds and more fuel.

As a result, the first stage of the Falcon 9, which SpaceX still plans to attempt to land on its drone ship, "will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, making a successful landing unlikely," the company said in a statement.

SpaceX pulled off the elusive drone ship landing last month when the company smoothly landed its Falcon 9 rocket at sea after it had been used to launch a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

Regardless of the outcome of Friday's attempt, it's possible we'll still be treated to some incredible footage of the Falcon 9 as it barrels toward the ocean platform.

Recycling rockets has been one of the key goals for Musk, who says it will greatly reduce the cost of space travel.

The first Falcon 9 the company landed on the ground last year has been re-certified to fly but will remain on Earth. The second rocket, which landed last month, could fly again as early as June, according to Musk, making it the first time the company launches a payload into space using a recycled booster.

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