Hard Landing

A brief history of SpaceX crashes

SpaceX's recent Starship SN9 launch ended with a stunning crash, and it's far from the first ship to meet such a fate.

Here are the most dramatic crashes in SpaceX history.

Falcon 9 - August 2014

After several hard water landings, the Falcon 9 booster exploded over McGregor, Texas in its most dramatic failure to that point.

Falcon 9 - January 2015

The Falcon 9 ran out of hydraulic fluid just before landing on a drone ship at sea.

Falcon 9 - April 2015

Another Falcon 9 crashed onto a drone ship, attributed to a "sticky throttle valve."

June 28, 2015

The Falcon 9 failed on a mission to resupply the International Space Station after the rocket's liquid oxygen tank ruptured.

Falcon 9 - January 2016

The Falcon 9 tipped and exploded after a landing leg collapsed on touchdown.

Falcon 9 - June 2016

Another Falcon 9 rocket ran out of propellant during touchdown and crashed onto a drone ship.

Falcon 9 - December 2018

After a successful ISS resupply, the Falcon 9 went off course during landing, crashing intact into the ocean.

Falcon Heavy - June 2019

Two of the Falcon Heavy's side boosters landed successfully after launch, but the center core crashed just past a drone ship.

Starship SN8 - December 2020

SpaceX's Starship prototype successfully launched in December 2020, but crashed when it wasn't able to right itself for landing.

Starship SN9 - February 2021

SpaceX's Starship once again launched successfully in February 2021.

Just like the SN8, the SN9 crashed to Earth with a spectacular explosion.

SpaceX's Starship SN10, already on the launch pad next to the SN9, will be the next prototype to try for a better outcome.

Read more space science stories here.

Shutterstock