After launching a satellite on Sunday, SpaceX’s booster rocket endured a rough landing.
The Falcon 9 booster rocket landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean after Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturer and transport services company launched NASA’s Jason-3 satellite into orbit. The project, which Bloomberg reports is led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration along with two European partners, will track sea-level fluctuations using the satellite in order to improve hurricane forecasting.
Booster rockets tend to break upon landing after sustaining powerful heat when re-entering the atmosphere. SpaceX
is trying to figure out how to land the booster so that it’s reusable afterwards. Because a booster rocket can only be used once, companies must build one for each launch. If SpaceX is successful, it would cut launch costs by a hundredfold, according to Musk’s estimates.
Musk said via Twitter that the Falcon 9 booster broke because it tipped over when a leg lockout failed to latch.