SpaceX, the private spaceflight company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, came closer than ever to having a Falcon 9 rocket successfully re-enter the atmosphere from orbit and land on a drone ship at sea. By normal space standards, the flight was a success—the rocket put the ocean-monitoring Jason 3 satellite into orbit without problems.

The mission also came extremely close to a safe landing, but apparently one of the rocket's four landing legs failed to lock correctly (perhaps due to ice that formed when the rocket took off in foggy conditions), causing the rocket to tip over... and go boom.

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The company made history in November when it successfully landed a rocket at Cape Canaveral, FL after putting 11 communications satellites into orbit. The drone ship landing program is crucial to further development, however, because having a moving platform on the oceans means a bigger target area, allowing for much higher-speed re-entries—and any rocket launching a mission to the Moon or beyond would be moving much faster than a rocket going to low earth orbit. Here's what the drone ship looks like:

https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/688577089679708160
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