Less than a month after SpaceX’s first successful rocket landing, billionaire Elon Musk’s company tried to do it again today – but this time, one of the rocket’s landing legs failed, resulting in a tumble onto its oceangoing landing platform.
Oh, and the Falcon 9 rocket launched a satellite, too.
The primary objective of today’s launch was to put the Jason 3 ocean-mapping satellite into orbit for NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Eumetsat and the French space agency CNES. Jason 3 is designed to monitor changes in sea level from orbit, continuing a decades-long campaign of measurements.
The rocket rose into the fog from its launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, right on time at 10:42 a.m. PT. The launch was judged as a success, but SpaceX had been hoping for a successful landing, too.