CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., June 15 (UPI) -- SpaceX successfully deployed two communications satellites on Wednesday morning, carried into orbit by its Falcon9 rocket. But the attempt to return the rocket's first stage to a floating barge failed, spoiling the company's attempt at four successful rocket landings in a row.
SpaceX announced on Twitter that: "satellite has been deployed into a nominal orbit."
"Ascent phase & satellites look good, but booster rocket had a RUD on droneship," SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted.
RUD stands for "rapid unscheduled disassembly." In other words, the rocket broke apart upon landing. The breakup is being blamed on an insufficient thrust from one of the rocket's three engines.
With three successful drone ship rocket landings in a row, it appeared SpaceX was perfecting its reusable rocket technology, but nothing is certain in rocketry. The company has landed four rockets total, the first on solid ground.
Prior to the launch, SpaceX warned that a successful landing would be more difficult due to a higher than usual re-entry velocity. The two communications satellites were carried into a higher-than-usual orbit.
The next SpaceX launch is scheduled for July 16. The company's Falcon 9 rocket will carry a resupply cargo load to the International Space Station for NASA. Engineers will attempt to land the rocket's first stage back on dry land at Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Second of two satellites being deployed into proper orbit with today's launch https://t.co/XcHFBPEyfk— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 15, 2016