Watch The Moment A SpaceX Rocket Lands, Falls Over, And Explodes

This is all of us on Monday morning.

1. SpaceX tried, and failed, to land a Falcon 9 reusable rocket on a barge in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.

The rocket launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 10:42am PST on Sunday, and successfully delivered oceanography satellite Jason-3 into orbit for NASA.

2. But when it returned to Earth, things didn’t go quite so smoothly.

SpaceX

 

3. Elon Musk posted a video of the explosion to Instagram.

4. Musk said the failure could have been caused by “ice buildup due to condensation from heavy fog at liftoff”.

5. The video above was filmed from SpaceX’s uncrewed “drone ship” that acts as a landing platform for its rockets.

6. Yesterday’s failed landing follows a successful attempt on land in December.

SpaceX / spacex.com

In December, the Falcon 9 managed to propel a bunch of satellites about 62 miles into space. The first stage then returned to Earth and landed safely on the ground exactly where it was supposed to.

7. Sunday’s landing was trickier, because it was at sea rather than on land.

The company has tried several sea landings before, but so far none have been successful.

8. Musk took to Twitter to explain why a sea landing is more difficult.

Definitely harder to land on a ship. Similar to an aircraft carrier vs land: much smaller target area, that's also translating & rotating.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

However, that was not what prevented it being good. Touchdown speed was ok, but a leg lockout didn't latch, so it tipped over after landing.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

10. Being able to reuse rockets would make private spaceflight much more cost-effective.

Traditionally, once a rocket has completed its job of resupplying the International Space Station, or propelling a satellite into orbit, it drops into the ocean and is lost.

11. Better luck next time, SpaceX!

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Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
Contact Kelly Oakes at kelly.oakes@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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