SpaceX Says Ice Buildup Might Be to Blame for Botched Rocket Touchdown at Sea

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Ice buildup could also be responsible for the fiery botched touchdown of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at sea on Sunday, the corporate stated.

The rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Pressure Base in California to place the U.S- and European-owned Jason three local weather-monitoring satellite tv for pc into orbit. It then returned to Earth, trying to land upright on an ocean barge.

Associated: SpaceX Rocket Explodes Upon Ocean Touchdown

Video confirmed the rocket had descended with pinpoint accuracy onto the drone ship earlier than a touchdown leg buckled, inflicting the booster to tip over and explode. The lockout collet on one of many rocket’s 4 legs did not latch, resulting in the mishap, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote in a publish on Twitter and Instagram.

"Root trigger might have been ice buildup because of condensation from heavy fog at liftoff," he stated.

Falcon lands on droneship, however the lockout collet does not latch on one the 4 legs, inflicting it… https://t.co/DpXsRQWal9

β€” Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 18, 2016

The failed touchdown was a setback for the Hawthorne, California, firm’s plan to scale back area launch prices by reusing rockets relatively than having them fall into the ocean.

A profitable ocean touchdown would have marked a second milestone for the corporate, a month after it nailed a spaceflight first with a profitable floor touchdown in Florida.

The feat of getting the rocket contact down on the tiny platform gained accolades from fellow tech entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, the Amazon.com chief government whose Blue Origin area firm is pursuing comparable know-how.

"SpaceX will quickly make Falcon 9 landings routine," Bezos posted on Twitter. "Kudos SpaceX!"

Spectacular launch and @SpaceX will quickly make Falcon 9 landings routine – so good for area! Kudos SpaceX!

β€” Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) January 17, 2016

Blue Origin landed a suborbital rocket throughout a November 2015 check flight.

SpaceX’s touchdown try on Sunday was the third time the privately owned agency had tried to recuperate a rocket on an ocean platform.

"No less than the items have been greater this time," Musk stated on Twitter. "Am optimistic about upcoming ship touchdown."

Final month, a Falcon 9 booster touched down on a touchdown pad at Cape Canaveral Air Drive Station in Florida after dispatching eleven small communications satellites into orbit.

Associated: SpaceX Video Lets You Relive Dramatic Falcon 9 Rocket Touchdown

SpaceX needs to have the ability to land rockets on ocean platforms in addition to on the bottom to accommodate all kinds of area missions. It has greater than 60 launches on its schedule, value greater than $eight billion.