SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” is undergoing repairs at Port Canaveral following the return of Falcon 9 booster B1031.2 after launching the SES-11 satellite. While the touchdown was nominal, a post-landing incident resulted in a short fire at the aft of the ship, which also damaged the robot that was to be used to secure the booster. The fire was quickly extinguished.
Highlighted by a SpaceX-produced blooper reel of failed landing attempts, the path to enabling Falcon 9 first stages to successfully return for a pinpoint landing on the deck of a drone ship in the ocean suffered some hard lessons in the early days of testing – including some “Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly (RUD)” events, as Elon Musk called them.
Although the refinements to the technology finally resulted in the boosters successfully making it back for a touchdown – first at LZ-1 at Cape Canaveral, soon followed by the first drone ship landing after launching the CRS-8 Dragon – it was noted that not every future landing attempt would be successful, especially when undertaking the more challenging drone ship return.
Amazingly, every landing attempt since has resulted in the booster making it back home ...