SpaceX's first deep space mission was scrubbed three times due to weather, wind and radar issues. On February 11, a fourth attempt to deliver and position the DSCOVR satellite a million miles from Earth was not only successful, but breathtakingly beautiful. These pictures speak for themselves:
Falcon 9 launches with its DSCOVR payload against a beautiful Cape Canaveral sunset backdrop.
Falcon 9 in flight with landing legs visible.
Falcon 9 on its first deep space mission, looking back at Earth. The visible landmass is Australia.
SpaceX had planned to land the rocket's upper stage on an autonomous spaceport drone ship in the Atlantic. However, extreme stormy weather and high seas interfered, so SpaceX decided to scrub the drone ship landing. Still, we got this amazing picture as the rocket descended, showing off its grid fins in action.
Landing on a stormy sea pic.twitter.com/7EY25g3IU5
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 12, 2015
Click here and scroll down for a picture of hypersonic grid fins being tested at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA.
Elon Musk added that the rocket soft landed in the stormy ocean within 10 meters of the target and nicely vertical, suggesting a high probability of a good drone ship landing in non-stormy weather.
Last, but not least - this jaw-dropping launch picture taken from an airplane. I haven't been able to find an explanation for the spiral plumes near the horizon.
Hey @ElonMusk and @SpaceX! MT @alexdrewchin: Ummmm we saw this from the plane window a few hours ago pic.twitter.com/R58XOf92ki
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) February 12, 2015