Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket, the Falcon 9, made good on its primary mission by delivering the Jason-3 oceanographic satellite safely into orbit on Sunday, then briefly touched down on the landing platform and promptly tipped over due to a malfunctioning leg strut latch. News from the drone ship initially reported that a leg on the first stage rocket had broken, but after a weather delay in transmission, it was discovered that ice buildup from condensation in the thick fog may have prevented one of the craft's four legs from locking correctly.
Have look at this amazing video as the rocket drops out of the sky like something out of a Golden Age sci-fi flick and topples over to its death.
The semi-successful test was conducted in stormy seas off the coast of California and was the third failed attempt at landing a Falcon 9 rocket safely and softly on a drone barge. The first landing back in January of 2015 came in far too fast, with the second attempt in April of 2015 coming closer to perfection but carried too much lateral motion, and it smashed into the deck and exploded. This third try was SO close!
Competitor Jeff Bezos of Blue Horizon offered his congratulations and encouragement to SpaceX yesterday after the launch. In the challenging race to privatize space it's wise to offer support to all the visionary pioneers who suffer trials and tribulations along the way.