After launching two communications satellites into orbit this morning, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket crashed onto the company's unmanned barge, ending the company's streak of three successful ocean landings.
Elon Musk tweeted that the rocket experienced "rapid unscheduled disassembly." Images from the live stream of the mission showed the rocket in flames on the platform:
Looks like the SpaceX landing didn't make it pic.twitter.com/Pw7nble9dW— Owen Williams ⚡️ (@ow) June 15, 2016
SpaceX seeks to recover its rockets after launches so that they can eventually be reused, a strategy that would save the company millions of dollars per launch. Musk tweeted shortly after the crash that one of the thrusters that slows the descending rocket had failed, and the company is exploring ways to prevent the same issue in the future.
Looks like thrust was low on 1 of 3 landing engines. High g landings v sensitive to all engines operating at max.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 15, 2016
Upgrades underway to enable rocket to compensate for a thrust shortfall on one of the three landing engines. Probably get there end of year.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 15, 2016