Satellite launches successfully; SpaceX rocket has mechanical er - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Satellite launches successfully; SpaceX rocket has mechanical error

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches with the Jason-3 spacecraft Sunday. (Source: NASA/Bill Engalls) The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches with the Jason-3 spacecraft Sunday. (Source: NASA/Bill Engalls)
(WAFF) -

Jason-3, a U.S.-European oceanography satellite mission, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Sunday aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The takeoff, at 10:42 a.m. PT, was perfect.

However, during the rocket's first stage landing on a droneship, a mechanical error resulted in the breakage of a landing leg.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted a few hours after the mission that one of the rocket's leg lockouts failed to latch, causing the rocket to tip over. 

It was not enough to scrub the mission. The rocket was righted, the payload checked for damage, and following a second stage re-ignition, the rocket continued on its mission.

Musk said the mishap on the first landing, while not particularly welcomed, was understandable:

Minutes after Jason-3 separated from the rocket’s second stage, the spacecraft unfolded its twin sets of solar arrays. Ground controllers successfully acquired the spacecraft’s signals, and initial telemetry reports showed the satellite was in good health.

The mission is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, French space agency CNES, and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.

“Jason-3 will take the pulse of our changing planet by gathering environmental intelligence from the world’s oceans,” said Stephen Volz, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

Measurements of sea-surface height, or ocean-surface topography, reveal the speed and direction of ocean currents and tell scientists how much of the sun’s energy is stored by the ocean. Combining ocean current and heat storage data is key to understanding global climate changes.

More information on the mission can be found here.

Click here to watch the archived webcast of the Jason-3 launch.

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