SCIENCE
03/04/2016 09:32 pm ET Updated Dec 19, 2016

SpaceX Rocket Crashes During Drone Ship Landing -- Again

On land: 1 for 1. At sea: 0 for 4.

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.

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.

The hiccup sent anxious viewers into a frenzy.

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

Friday's launch, initially scheduled for Feb. 24, had been postponed several times, including once when a boat wandered too close to the launch site.

In December, SpaceX made history when a Falcon 9 landed successfully on land about six miles from where it took off. Musk called it a "revolutionary" moment and a "critical step along the way to being able to establish a city on Mars."

Landing at sea, however, has proven much more challenging. Last month, a SpaceX landing off the coast of California ended in flames after one of the rocket's landing legs failed to lock in place. 

See below for a the full webcast of SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch.

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