SpaceX launches satellites, loses rocket
The Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:29 a.m. ET.
The space exploration company attempted to bring its rocket back to Earth, but the rocket was lost before it could stick another historic landing on a drone ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, tweeted during the mission that the booster rocket had a “rapid unscheduled disassembly,” or RUD, which typically means the rocket tipped over or crashed into the ship.
“Maybe hardest impact to date. Drone ship still ok,” Musk shared on his social media account.
Part of Wednesday’s mission included bringing the rocket’s first-stage booster back to Earth. However, the company warned prior to the launch that a landing would be challenging because of the mission’s high orbit delivery, which could create high velocity and reentry heat, making it harder to stick a landing.
Until this point, the company had made three successful ocean landings.
Although the rocket was lost, SpaceX was able to deliver satellites EUTELSAT 117 West B and ABS-2A to geostationary transfer orbit, a part of near space that is ideal for communication and meteorological satellites.
The two satellites are operated respectively by Eutelsat and ABS, companies that provide global communications services to their users.
This mission was SpaceX’s second dual-satellite launch.