Cape Canaveral, Florida: SpaceX successfully launched a rocket, Falcon 9, on Saturday morning to deliver a Dragon cargo ship loaded with supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). But, the company's attempt to land the rocket’s detached first-stage ended with a crash upon returning to the Earth.
“Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time,” Elon Musk, founder and chief executive, said in an update on Twitter.
Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 10, 2015
Saturday's mission was SpaceX's fifth official cargo delivery flight to the space station under NASA's commercial resupply services contract, said the US space agency.
The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 1:47 a.m Pacific time.
The cargo capsule, filled with more than 5,100 pounds (2,300 kg) of food, supplies and equipment, separated from the first-stage booster rocket and continued on its way to orbit and rendezvous with the space station.
Elon Musk tweeted that while the booster made it to the barge, some of the vessel’s equipment was damaged by the impact.
“Ship itself is fine,”. “Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced,” he tweeted.
This was the first time a Falcon 9 rocket attempted the touchdown on a platform in the ocean, away from populated areas.
Falcon 9 made history in 2012 when it successfully rendezvoused with the International Space Station, delivering Dragon into the right orbit.
Musk tweeted that the company would try the barge landing again on a launch scheduled for February.