UPDATE: SpaceX attempted to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean after successfully launching NASA's Jason-3 satellite into orbit.
According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the lockout collet did not latch on one of the four landing legs which caused to rocket to tip over after landing and explode. Musk said that the root cause of the malfunction may have been ice buildup due to condensation from heavy fog at liftoff.
Video credit: SpaceX
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BACE, Califorinia. The Jason-3 international oceanography satellite mission is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 10:42:18 a.m. PST (1:42:18 p.m. EST) with a 30-second launch window.
After the satellite is safely on its way into orbit, SpaceX will once again attempt to land the first stage of its rocket on a drone ship landing pad, this time in the Pacific Ocean.
Jason-3 will add to a 23-year satellite record of global sea surface heights, a measurement with scientific, commercial and practical applications related to climate change, currents and weather. Jason-3 data will be used for monitoring global sea level rise, researching human impacts on oceans, aiding prediction of hurricane intensity, and operational marine navigation. The mission is planned to last at least three years, with a goal of five years. It is a four-agency international partnership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, the French Space Agency CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), and EUMETSAT (the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites).