After making history in April with a successful rocket landing at sea, a SpaceX Falcon 9 crashed into its drone ship today (15 June) just as it was touching down.
SpaceX rocket’s feed cut out just as Falcon 9 was touching down, leaving most viewers in the dark as to whether or not the rocket landed safely.
Sadly, the rocket never made it and crashed into the drone ship, the enigmatically named Of Course I Still Love You, .which was a few hundred miles off the Florida coast.
“Ascent phase and satellites look good, but booster rocket had a RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly) on drone ship,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said via Twitter.
He later reported that the crash on the drone ship was the hardest to date.
Landing video will be posted when we gain access to cameras on the droneship later today. Maybe hardest impact to date. Droneship still ok.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 15, 2016
The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10.29am (3.29pm IST).
The booster’s two stages separated and the upper stage carried the Eutelsat 117 West B and ABS-2A commercial satellites to orbit.
After that, the first stage turned around and returned to Earth.
Approximately nine minutes after launch, as the first stage attempted a landing on the drone ship, the live video feed cut out.
Right afterwards, Musk confirmed that the booster section of the rocket didn’t survive the touchdown.
In April, SpaceX made history when a SpaceX rocket successfully launched a cargo capsule into space and then successfully returned to dock on an ocean-going drone ship.
Falcon 9 take off on 15 June 2016:
SpaceX image via Shutterstock