SpaceX rocket still floating in Atlantic Ocean after botched ground landing

Crews working to recover intact Falcon 9 booster

By James Sparvero - Reporter

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A SpaceX rocket booster is still floating in the ocean after the Falcon 9 missed its intended ground target and splash-landed following Wednesday's launch from Cape Canaveral.

As of Thursday night, there was no word from SpaceX or Port Canaveral as to when the rocket booster will be towed in from sea. 

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shared video on Twitter Wednesday of the rocket engines stabilizing the booster just in time for a splash landing soft enough to save it.

Space experts called the water landing a "successful failure."

"You might think that a big rocket stage falling out of the sky that's not working properly would be something that would cause some alarm, but in this case, when the flight computer realized there was a problem, it kept the vehicle well offshore," CBS News space analyst Bill Harwood said. "The spacecraft did not impact on the ground uncontrolled, and of course, that's a good thing."

The best thing for NASA and SpaceX is the success so far of the mission.

The Dragon spacecraft, carrying nearly 3 tons of science and supplies, is scheduled to rendezvous with the International Space Station on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a crowd gathered Thursday night at Jetty Park, hoping to see the rocket moved back to land.

"It's just really unique," photographer Tom McCool said. "If they're able to tow the booster back in, it's going to be the first time seeing one towed in like that."

[WATCH AGAIN: SpaceX CRS-16 launch to ISS]

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