SpaceX rocket destroyed in failed ocean landing attempt

A SpaceX Falcon rocket thrust a communications satellite into orbit on Friday before the reusable main-stage booster turned around, soared back toward Earth and was destroyed when it failed to land itself on a platform in the ocean, the company said.

SpaceX, owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, previously said the chances of a successful return landing of the rocket's main stage at sea were slim, given its high speed when it separated from the spacecraft.

A returning Falcon rocket main stage successfully touched down on a ground-based landing pad near the launch site in December following a less-demanding launch.

(Reporting by Irene Klotz from Cape Canaveral; Editing by Steve Gorman and Sandra Maler; Editing by Steve Gorman)