The first-stage booster aimed for a touchdown on land back at Cape Canaveral, once its job was done, but ended up smashing into the Atlantic Ocean instead.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, with liftoff scheduled for 10:16 a.m. California time. The booster began spinning, but righted itself before it reached the water. Hydraulic pump meant for landing fins stopped functioning. Two of the four grid fins are visible on the image in the tweet.
As USA Today notes, the rocket's booster was the first Falcon 9 to launch three missions, an important part of the company's plan to reduce costs by reusing rockets. Although it is nearly without a doubt too early to actually know if the booster is in good enough condition to ever fly again, Musk seemed to directly suggest that it could eventually relaunch in support of an "internal SpaceX mission", basically either Starlink or tech development.
Based in Seattle, Washington, Spaceflight helps companies like SpaceX identify, book, and manage rideshare launches like the one on December 3.
Today's landing was meant to be on land. The press conference post-launch is expected to happen at 3:15 p.m. the same day.
"Appears to be undamaged and is transmitting data".
Minutes later, the rocket's first stage performed a so-called boost back maneuver and landed on an unmanned ship in the Pacific.
Koenigsmann said he does not expect the landing failure to impact future launches.
Today continues an extraordinary week for orbital launches. Below is the screenshot of Musk's tweet that was tweeted shortly after the incident. It could be that deployment of the landing legs stabilized the vehicle, but he said it needs to be investigated in detail. It was also reported that SpaceX and NASA will experience a passenger Crew Dragon capsule. NASA ISS Deputy Program Manager Joel Montelbano called it an "incredible launch".
Dragon will be filled with more than 5,600 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur onboard the orbiting laboratory. NASA discovered Monday that the food for the mouse-tronauts was mouldy. It's scheduled to arrive Saturday morning.
The International Space Station now has six crewmembers; three arrived Monday (Dec. 3), and three have been there since June.
The launch cargo resupply mission, the 16th carried out by SpaceX, will be broadcast live on NASA TV.