SpaceX launches two satellites, but drone ship landing is unsuccessful

SpaceX launched two commercial satellites Wednesday morning, but its Falcon 9 rocket was lost before it could attempt to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Hawthorne-based space company’s rocket launched at 7:29 a.m. PDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

As part of the mission, SpaceX was hoping to land the rocket’s first-stage booster on the drone ship, though the company had warned that the high velocity and reentry heat the rocket would experience because of its high-orbit delivery would make it difficult to stick the landing.

Shortly after the launch, SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted: “Ascent phase & satellites look good, but booster rocket had a [rapid unscheduled disassembly] on droneship.”

He later tweeted: “Upgrades underway to enable rocket to compensate for a thrust shortfall on one of the three landing engines. Probably get there end of year.”


If the touchdown had been successful, it would have marked the company’s fourth sea landing and its fifth overall. SpaceX landed a first stage on land in December.

The Falcon 9 did successfully deploy two satellites: Eutelsat 117 West B, which is to provide video for telecommunications and government services to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America; and ABS-2A, which is to provide video and other services to South Asia, Southeast Asia, Russia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.

It was the company’s second dual-satellite launch. The first occurred in March 2015.


Here’s why companies leave you in the dark about hacks for months

Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to expand California’s power grid raises questions

Uber reportedly seeks to raise up to $2 billion in the leveraged loan market

For more business news, follow me @smasunaga


8:19 a.m.: This article has been updated with a comment from Elon Musk.

8:14 a.m.: This article has been updated with a comment from Elon Musk.

8:04 a.m.: This article has been was updated with details of the launch.

This article was originally published at 2:59 a.m.