SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 6, 2018

The extraordinary mission will ferry 2.5 tonnes of supplies to the the orbiting laboratory, including materials to support 250 experiments.

The SpaceX booster rocket missed its landing zone on the ground, however, and fell into the sea, just offshore.

CEO Elon Musk further noted that Falcon 9 B1050 - despite landing in the ocean - was intact and still transmitting telemetry, potentially allowing SpaceX to still recovery the forlorn rocket. In other words, Falcon 9 performed fine during ascent and only exhibited off-nominal behavior during the booster's attempted landing after separating from the upper stage and Dragon payload.

After separating from the second stage, and firing its engines to return to Earth, a video camera on board showed the first stage spinning.

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. "Ships en route to rescue Falcon", he tweeted.

The mission had been a complete success until the aborted landing.

"What a great day for a launch", said Kennedy Space Center director Bob Cabana. Twenty years ago this week, Cabana commanded the shuttle mission that carried up the first US part of the space station.

Researchers had been anxious that the worms, which have a life span of about two weeks, could have grown to be too old after the launch was delayed. There will be plenty of room on board for all the tiny nematodes.

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. The crew includes two Americans, two Russians, one German and one Canadian.

Watch on NASA TV below, or at NASA's website, or via SpaceX's own webcast. It's the first time that's happened since the groundbreaking launch of the company's Falcon Heavy spacecraft in February.

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