The test flight of space craft Falcon 9 first stage that failed to make a successful landing would not affect upcoming launch plans said spokesperson of SpaceX that owns the enterprise. The Falcon 9’s first stage was used for launch of Dragon cargo spacecraft to International Space Station and was scheduled to land on SpaceX’s landing Zone 1 located at Cape Canaveral, Flora but instead it touched down on the ocean surface. According to reports Falcon 9’s booster suffered an issue with its grid fins during the first stage that are used to control its decent.
The stage therefore spun wildly and ended up on the ocean surface instead of intended spot that led to its booster toppling over which was soon towed back to the harbor by SpaceX’s team by boats. The firm’s CEO Elon Musk said that the grid fins’ hydraulic pump malfunction leading to stage spinning away. He tweeted that though landing safely on the ground is critical it is not mission critical. Similar explanation was issued by Hans Koenigsmann, the firm’s VP of build and flight reliability, during the press briefing after the launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. He also added that the stage continued to work even after landing in water and transmitted data.
Hans Koenigsmann stressed that the focus was on ensuring that the launch vehicle’s safety devices work well till it lands and that worked as per expectations. The booster targeted a point offshore close to touchdown and if it would have landed somewhere else on shore it would avoid buildings due to its inbuilt abilities. He emphasized that the booster’s landing system kept away from all region that would cause even the smallest risk to public and property. The booster’s autonomous flight safety system was disabled as per previous plan when it started to spin and he stated that flight’s termination system is turned off when booster does not pose a threat to general public.