SpaceX’s Falcon 9 came very close to landing on a drone barge yesterday, but sadly, in the space industry, second place only secures you a fireworks show.
The live stream of the landing cut out at just the wrong time, so information about what went wrong came out in bits and pieces. Elon Musk just posted this video to Instagram, seen below, showing a landing that was perfect in almost every regard. Having executed a reasonably slow, vertical landing, one of the rocket’s four legs failed to lock in place, causing it to tip over and explode. Musk said that the cause of the strut failure “may have been ice buildup due to condensation from heavy fog at liftoff”.
Can't see the video? Watch it on Instagram here.
Though this barge landing was ultimately unsuccessful like the attempt back in April 2015 and therefore SpaceX won’t be reusing that rocket any time soon, the company was successful in landing a rocket on land at Cape Canaveral in Florida in December 2015.
Top image via SpaceX