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Monday, January 18, 2016

SpaceX Successfully Launches Satellite But Rocket Explodes During Drone Ship Landing Attempt

As reported by ForbesSpaceX successfully launched the Jason-3 satellite into orbit yesterday. However, its attempted landing of the rocket on a drone ship once again failed explosively.
Apart from the landing, the launch from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center was flawless. It lifted off at 1:42pm ET from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The Jason-3 satellite is a project of NOAA, in partnership with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and NASA. Jason-3 continues a series of satellite observations of the ocean which began in 1992. The purpose of the satellite is to measure changes in the ocean’s surface. This helps scientists track sea level rise due to climate change.
In addition to tracking sea level rise, the satellite will also make possible better weather forecasting, including better tracking of hurricane intensity and changes of weather patterns caused by El Nino. It will also track decadal patterns in oceans that can be used to assist the management of fisheries and other ocean-dependent businesses.
The second part of SpaceX’s goal for this launch was to once again make an attempt to land a reusable Falcon 9 first stage onto the deck of a droneship on the ocean. In December, SpaceX was successful in landing a reusable first stage on the ground following a launch. However, it’s attempts to land on a ship so far haven’t worked.  Elon Musk's video of the landing is shown here.
Yesterday was no different, although the first stage came closer than ever. According to the company, the rocket made a successful soft landing on the ship about 1.3 meters from its target. However, one of the landing legs failed, causing the rocket to fall over and explode.