Musk blamed the anomaly on a faulty pump, but said the booster is undamaged, being recovered, and can be reused for a future launch.
Elon Musk's company succeeded in its primary mission of sending a Dragon spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station to deliver supplies, but the first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle appeared to lose control as it approached Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral. If SpaceX rockets misbehave, that could prompt the agency to perform a safety review and delay those experimental launches. SpaceX usually lands the rocket's booster and refurbishes it for another flight.
After suffering from an apparent malfunction in one of its grid fins, the booster fell into the sea - but remained intact and will be retrieved.
"Pump is single string".
The CRS-16 mission is SpaceX's fourth resupply flight to the space station this year, but the first daytime launch in several months.
The arrival of the Dragon spacecraft will also be the subject of a live webcast. Musk admitted that was a mistake, and vowed to "show all footage, good or bad".
"It's really unbelievable how it stopped rotating at the very end as the landing legs come out", Koenigsmann said. Falcon 9 first stages are outfitted with targeting algorithms that keep them offshore until the very end of their touchdown sequences, when it's clear that everything is working well, he said. "Even if it is on land it avoids buildings". Falcon 9's first stage for the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission previously supported the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 mission in May and the Merah Putih mission in August. "So it stays away from populations and property, and ensures public safety".
If the booster had veered off-course more than two minutes before landing, Gebhardt said, then it would have exploded.
Today's failed landing shouldn't affect upcoming SpaceX launches, Koenigsmann added. Musk noted via Twitter. Koenigsmann said that it's too early to know if the first stage can fly again.
In a response to someone else's tweet, Musk clarified that SpaceX may use this Falcon 9 "for an internal SpaceX mission", but no further information on that was provided.