SpaceX’s Falcon 9 came very close to sticking the landing on a drone barge earlier today, but sadly, in the space industry, second place just gets 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, 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.”
Although the landing was ultimately unsuccessful—SpaceX won’t be reusing that rocket any time soon—the company is getting much closer with every successive attempt.
Top image via SpaceX