Musk blamed the failure on a hydraulic pump that pushes out one of the booster's four titanium "grid fins".
Experiments onboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule include studies on wound healing in space, as well as two studies by students inspired by Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" will also launch to the orbiting laboratory. The sight triggered a mixture of anxious "oohs" and "aahs" from SpaceX employees who were watching, then the booster's video feed cut out from the broadcast.
The Space Coast launch Wednesday will be SpaceX's 16th under the company's commercial resupply contract for NASA.
The failure of a Falcon 9 first stage to make its planned landing after a December 5 launch shouldn't affect plans for upcoming launches, a SpaceX executive said. The mission was also historic because it involved a booster making its third successful landing.
The first stage, meanwhile, tried to come back for a vertical landing at Cape Canaveral.
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Now, SpaceX head honcho Elon Musk has shared some clearer video of what, exactly, happened and what went wrong on the Falcon's journey back to Earth.
'We have had a great liftoff, ' said SpaceX commentator John Insprucker, as the Falcon 9 rocket soared into the sunny, blue sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:16 pm (1816 GMT), carrying 5,600 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of gear. "Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data". It should reach the space station at the weekend. "Recovery ship dispatched", Space X boss Elon Musk said on Twitter. "Given this event, we will likely add a backup", Musk tweeted.
SpaceX clearly has its core business in good shape, which is impressive since it's literally rocket science, but there are still big questions moving forward. After more than two dozen successful rocket landings, SpaceX's most recent attempt resulted in a splashdown, though the rocket remained intact and was retrieved by the company. "It knows where buildings are, so it's pretty smart in that aspect", he said of the landing system on the booster. More food was rushed in from California.
SpaceX is preparing to launch its first spaceship to carry NASA astronauts, called Crew Dragon, in 2019.
Today's SpaceX launch will use a new Block 5 booster.