SpaceX had a successful launch this week to send supplies to the ISS inside its Dragon capsule. The more interesting bit about the launch was SpaceX’s latest attempt to have the Falcon 9 rocket land on a floating platform at sea so that it could be refitted and reused. The last time SpaceX tried to have the Falcon 9 land at sea on the platform it created a fantastic explosion.
This time out things looked to be going pretty well in the far away video footage that SpaceX had released previously of the Falcon 9 rocket nearly landing on the floating platform. A new video has now surfaced that shows a much closer view of what happened with the landing gear of the Falcon 9 rocket during the crash. The rocket had no problem navigating to the landing barge and starting the automatic descent.
The rocket was able to shed enough velocity to land on the barge platform, but ended up falling over after landing due to momentum left over from swinging itself into position. You can see the thrusters firing frantically on top of the rocket trying to stabilize it to no avail.
The rocket exploded when it tipped over. Apparently, Musk posted a tweet and then deleted it saying that part of the issue this time out was a “stiction in the biprop throttle valve.” That caused the rocket to be unable to act on control impulses as quickly as it should have leading it to go out of control and explode.