SpaceX chief Elon Musk has just uploaded to his Instagram account video of his Falcon 9 rocket landing back on a drone ship in the Pacific ocean, slowly tipping over, and exploding into bright orange flames.
It’s slightly sad to watch but Musk was typically analytical in describing exactly why it happened. Using the present tense, he offers a bit of play-by-play to the tip-over video:
“Falcon lands on drone ship, but the lockout collet doesn’t latch on one the four legs, causing it to tip over post landing. Root cause may have been ice buildup due to condensation from heavy fog at liftoff.”
The botched landing marks the third failed attempt by SpaceX to land its reusable rocket on the football-field sized drone ship some 170 miles off the southern coast of California:
Earlier on Sunday, Musk was optimistic about the failed landing, sharing on Twitter that at least the wreckage was in bigger pieces:
The rocket was coming back to earth after sending a Jason-3 satellite into orbit, a mission that is so far going very well.
Everything seemed to be going as planned, but a live video feed from the surface of the drone ship paused at this moment — see below — and a short time later, SpaceX officials said the rocket did not stick the landing.