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SpaceX fails to land rocket on droneship for 4th consecutive time

WASHINGTON, June 16 — US space firm SpaceX on Wednesday failed to achieve its fourth consecutive rocket landing on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean but succeeded in launching two commercial communications satellites into orbit.

"We weren't able to recover (the rocket's) 1st stage," SpaceX spokesman Dex Torricke-Barton said via Twitter.

"Landing is secondary objective and we got valuable data to inform future attempts," Torricke-Barton said.

The main objective of the mission was to deliver two commercial communications satellites to Geostationary Transfer Orbits (GTO), which was completed successfully.

The two satellites, EUTELSAT 117 West B and ABS-2A, are operated respectively by Eutelsat and ABS — two companies that provide global communications services to a variety of users.

The launch using SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket took place at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

In a press release, SpaceX noted before launch that sticking the landing will be difficult this time, since the Falcon 9 is taking the satellites to GTO, a very high orbit used to move a satellite into a geostationary orbit about 36,000 kilometers over the equator.

The California-based company has done so successfully three consecutive times since April.

All of these landing attempts are part of SpaceX's effort to produce a fully and rapidly reusable rocket, which it said will dramatically reduce the cost of space transport.

Traditionally, rockets are designed for a single use only, burning up or crashing into the ocean after liftoff. (PNA/Xinhua)

JMC/EBP

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