SpaceX Rocket Crashes During Drone Ship Landing — Again

After four delayed attempts, Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, launched its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Friday, successfully deploying a communications satellite into orbit.

But, as the company had warned may happen, the attempt to land the 14-story rocket booster on a drone ship at sea ended much as did three previous tries: in flames.

Rocket landed hard on the droneship. Didn’t expect this one to work (v hot reentry), but next flight has a good chance.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 5, 2016

As with previous missions, SpaceX said landing the rocket was a secondary objective. The primary goal of delivering a commercial communications satellite called SES-9 into orbit for the company SES was a success.

Friday’s attempt was not without suspense. As the rocket booster came in for an upright landing aboard the floating, football field-sized drone ship, comically named Of Course I Still Love You, the video feed cut out.

.@SpaceX almost showed its #Falcon9 rocket landing on a drone ship — but then the video cut out. Fate is unclear.https://t.co/pDpNI9sveU

— Mashable News (@MashableNews) March 4, 2016

The hiccup sent anxious viewers into a frenzy.

Hey @SpaceX we’re on pins and needles!

— Verge Science (@VergeScience) March 4, 2016

Criminy, @SpaceX – I NEED TO KNOW! I need a shower.

— Curt Godwin (@Crow_T_Robot) March 5, 2016

Musk later broke the news of the crash — which the company had warned in advance may happen — via Twitter.