After mice food delay, SpaceX set for space station resupply launch Wednesday

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 6, 2018

The disappointment was offset by the successful flight of the Dragon capsule and its 5,600 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of cargo. It was projected to land back at Landing Zone 1 in the Cape.

The primary mission was an undeniable hit, but this time around, SpaceX's attempt to have the Falcon 9's first-stage booster touch down on a landing pad was a miss.

A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a robotic Dragon cargo capsule toward the International Space Station for NASA today, lifting off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

A new video gives an fantastic rocket's-eye view of a SpaceX booster's unsuccessful bid to return to terra firma today (Dec. 5). Although it is nearly without a doubt too early to actually know if the booster is in good enough condition to ever fly again, Musk seemed to directly suggest that it could eventually relaunch in support of an "internal SpaceX mission", basically either Starlink or tech development. This time around, the capture ship missed the nosecones but a tweet by Elon Musk explains that they touched down "softly in the water" which is a plus.

Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability, offered a similar explanation at a post-launch briefing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. That mission will feature a droneship landing, like several previous Iridium launches. Twenty years ago this week, Cabana commanded the shuttle mission that carried up the first US part of the space station.

Besides smoked turkey breast and all the other fixings for Christmas dinner, the delivery includes 40 mice and 36,000 worms for aging and muscle studies.

Thousands of worms have been fired into space so that scientists can learn how their muscles work in zero gravity. There will be plenty of room on board for all the tiny nematodes.

First published December 5, 11:13 a.m. PT. Update, 12:38 p.m. PT: Adds more details about the launch. It should reach the space station at the weekend.

The rocket was initially meant to take off Tuesday, but was delayed for a day after engineers discovered moldy mouse food in one of the science investigations created to study the effect of microgravity on the immune system. The booster, covered in black soot from its two prior flights, landed again on an ocean barge in the Pacific Ocean after launch, queuing up the rocket to fly for a fourth time.

SpaceX has been making station deliveries for NASA since 2012. The company expects to start launching station crews next year.

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