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Watch second SpaceX landing attempt also end in explosion

Early video showed a relatively soft landing for the Falcon 9 rocket before it reportedly tipped over. But that second landing was not so soft, a new video shows.

So much for a soft landing. Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

On Wednesday we learned that the second SpaceX attempt to land its reusable Falcon 9 rocket on a drone/barge landing pad was a near success.

CEO Elon Musk shared a Vine that showed the rocket touching down relatively softly, if at a slightly odd angle, but the video was cut off as the rocket landed and Musk explained that it had then tipped over on the platform.

It sure looked and sounded like an improvement over the images from the first landing attempt in January that showed a rocket hitting the drone ship a little too hard and exploding.

But a new video shot by a chase plane (and another close-up view from on-board the barge that started circulating on Thursday, which I've added to the end of this story) and posted by SpaceX late Wednesday shows that the latest attempt also had a fiery end.

The second attempt still seems to be an improvement over the first, though, as the rocket definitely does seem to just about nail the landing. Being a little off-balance, however, was apparently enough to cause it to fall over and explode.

The takeaway in the below videos is clear -- while SpaceX almost has its reusable rocket landings worked out, it's probably never going to be the type of event to attract a crowd of tailgating spectators on an adjacent drone bleacher barge.

Update: A new video of the landing fail, purportedly recorded by a GoPro on the deck of the landing pad, has begun to circulate. Check it out for an even better vantage point below.