SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

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

The disappointment was offset by the successful flight of the Dragon capsule and its 2500kg of cargo. After suffering from an apparent malfunction in one of its grid fins, the booster fell into the sea - but remained intact and will be retrieved.

The CRS-16 mission is SpaceX's fourth resupply flight to the space station this year, but the first daytime launch in several months. The crew-carrying version of Dragon is schedule to fly a test mission next month, and if all goes well, will carry astronauts to the station later in the year in what would be the first crewed flight from USA soil since the space shuttles retired in 2011. Among these were materials that are critical to supporting the ongoing research and investigations aboard the ISS.

Watch the launch live on ClickOrlando.com/space beginning at 1 p.m. 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.

Friday will see two separate Chinese rocket launches.

SpaceX launched the holiday shipment on a Falcon 9 rocket, which pierced the clear, chilly sky. This was to be the twenty-seventh time that SpaceX had managed to successfully retrieve a first stage booster. The last time a regular Falcon 9 launch ended with a failed landing was June of 2016.

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SpaceX had planned to land the first stage of the brand-new Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket at a landing zone ashore at Cape Canaveral, but as the rocket descended toward the cape, the live feed from the booster's onboard cameras appeared to show the craft going into some sort of uncontrolled spin. At 10:34 am PST (0:34 EST), Musk tweeted the apparent cause of the failed landing and addressed possible changes to avoid similar problems in the future. The first-stage rockets have a 84 percent recovery rate, according to the company. Musk also indicated that ships were en route to retrieve the booster.

The booster may still be reusable, Musk said, indicating on Twitter that the company may use it for an "internal" SpaceX launch.

In addition, Koenigsmann said, Falcon 9 first and second stages both feature autonomous "flight termination systems", which would step in if the above safeguards somehow fell short. In addition, this should not distract from the fact that the launch itself went by the numbers.

The current International Space Station crew includes two Americans, two Russians, one German and one Canadian. Canadarm2) to capture the Dragon spacecraft and attach it to the orbiting laboratory.

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