If that first test of the unpiloted SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft goes well, a second test will fly astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station in June.
The Falcon 9 rocket blasted into a clear, chilly sky; the first-stage booster was aiming for a touchdown back at the launch site, once its job was done.
NASA spokeswoman Megan Powers wrote in an email that Musk met with NASA deputy director of exploration and human operations Bill Gerstenmaier in Washington.
Television cameras switched away from the rocket a moment before impact, but amateur video showed the rocket extending its landing legs and slowing for landing on the power of a single engine, the normal procedure for touchdown.
Recall: December 5, Falcon 9 rocket lifted into orbit the Dragon spacecraft will deliver to the ISS 2.5 tonnes of cargo.
The Dragon space capsule that SpaceX used for the current mission was earlier used in February 20017 as part of the CCRS-10 supply mission.
There was a problem with the grid fin hydraulic pump, he explained, so the rocket landed in the sea.
It seems that a mechanical failure on one of the grid fins which stabilize the first stage during the return trip occurred. 'Ships en route to rescue Falcon'.
This is the first time that SpaceX has failed to land the booster on the ground.
The effort is aimed at reducing the cost of launches by re-using expensive components, instead of jettisoning them in the ocean after each mission. The rocket was loaded with supplies, science experiments and food for the astronauts living there.
It should arrive at the space station on Saturday.