Moments later, it said 'It appears stage 1 has made a water landing off the coast of Cape Canaveral'.
Wednesday's Falcon rocket was brand new, while the Dragon cargo carrier was recycled by SpaceX.
Stay tuned as SpaceX and Musk continue to offer updates on the continuing Cargo Dragon mission and attempted Falcon 9 recovery.
What exactly went wrong is entirely unclear but roughly 30 seconds before a planned landing at LZ-1, Falcon 9 B1050 - shown live on SpaceX's webcast - began to spin at an increasingly rapid pace, visibly losing some of its aerodynamic control authority before SpaceX cut the live feed.
The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket on its operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.
In space, the Dragon spacecraft performed as expected and should reach the ISS on Saturday morning before docking there for about five weeks.
CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter soon after the breathtaking loss of control and expected landing time, stating that the SpaceX team now pegged the failure on a grid fin's stalled hydraulic fin, which ultimately caused the wild spinning seen in the webcast. Then, it will return to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off California.
The Falcon 9 is equipped with four fins that rise perpendicular to the body of the rocket as it descends to help slow and control its approach for landing. Remarkably, it seems SpaceX may still be able to recover the rocket.
"Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea", Musk tweeted.
"Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data".
The booster may still be reusable, Musk said, indicating on Twitter that the company may use it for an "internal" SpaceX launch. "Given this event, we will likely add a backup pump & lines". The last time a regular Falcon 9 launch ended with a failed landing was June of 2016.
Just two days earlier, three astronauts arrived at the space station to join the three already there.
The launch was initially scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed due to *checks note* moldy mouse food.