Washington: After two delays, US firm SpaceX launched its fifth cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) early Saturday morning but its rocket recovery test seemed to have failed.
The mission generated a lot of interest because SpaceX was trying to realise a precise landing of the rocket's first stage on a floating ocean platform for the first time.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the rocket made it to the platform but "landed hard."
"Close, but no cigar this time," he said, "Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced."
"Didn't get good landing/impact video. Pitch dark and foggy. Will piece it together from telemetry and... actual pieces," he stated.
The unmanned Dragon cargo ship lifted off at 4:47 a.m. aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Xinhua news agency reported.
The spacecraft carried about 2.5 tonnes of supplies and payloads, including materials to support 256 science and research investigations.