SpaceX Rocket ALMOST Lands – Equipment Failure?
SpaceX attempted to land the first stage of their Jason 3 launch vehicle on their Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship this weekend. The video shows the stage softly touching down, and then toppling over. Elon Musk tweeted that the leg did not fully latch prior to touchdown, and folded up when the stage weight was applied. He said it looks like the collet between the leg extension tube segments did not hold due to icing prior to launch.
What do you think? Is a collet the correct type of device to hold a static load like this in place? My thoughts: I think a more simple locking pin that drops into place, or a circumferential collar that drops into a slot, would be a much more reliable locking device, rather than something that depends on friction for support.
Still, what an awesome landing attempt!