SpaceX took off its unmanned Dragon ship Wednesday, loaded with supplies, scientific experiments and food for astronauts living on the International Space Station, but was unable to land the first stage of the rocket back.
"We had a great takeoff," said John Insprucker, a SpaceX commentator, as the Falcon 9 rocket climbed the sunny blue sky of Cape Canaveral, Fla., With 2,500 pounds of supplies.
SpaceX's 16th mission to NASA, as part of a contract to transport supplies into space, managed to reach Earth's orbit, which was the main target of the launch.
But the first stage of the rocket did not achieve its goal of securing a vertical landing on the mainland in landing zone 1 of the Cape Canaveral base.
After separating from the second stage and turning on its engines to return to Earth, an onboard video camera showed the launcher making a turn.
Then the live broadcast was cut off.
SpaceX boss Elon Musk later explained in his Twitter account that the hydraulic pump on one of the launcher's titanium fins had been broken. The first stage, therefore, fell into the ocean, not far from the coast.
"He does not appear to be damaged and is transmitting data. A recovery boat is on the way," the tycoon wrote.
SpaceX got more than 30 of its launchers to successfully return to Earth and land on the ground or on a floating platform.
Initially, Dragon's release was scheduled for Tuesday, but was postponed a day after they discovered mildew in the rat of one of the scientific investigations to study the effect of microgravity on the immune system.
The food in poor condition was replaced before Wednesday's launch.
Other experiments among the more than 250 aboard the space lab include a new type of leaf mustard that astronauts will develop in space.
The Dragon's space capsule that flew on Wednesday was used once before on a refueling mission in February 2017. It is expected to arrive at the space station on Saturday morning.