Rocket heads to ISS; booster misses mark

06 December, 2018, 20:25 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • SpaceX's CRS-16 mission has been delayed on account of moldy mice food

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:10 pm.

A SpaceX commentator called it a "bummer", but noted it was secondary to the main mission of getting the Dragon capsule to orbit.

- Three days and 3,000 miles apart, SpaceX is aiming for their second launch this week, this time with a cargo flight to the space station.

While the first stage booster did not land as intended, the fact that it survived the descent is no small feat.

For a moment, it seemed as if the booster was flying out of control toward the ground.

SpaceX hopes to take on that job soon, too.

Ocean platform landings have proven a bit trickier, but SpaceX has managed to stick the landing, whether on land or sea, 32 times in all. "Recovery ship dispatched", Musk said via Twitter today. 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.

A few minutes later, Musk and others shared some dramatic and dizzying footage of the splashdown.

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Elon Musk later confirmed the issue, saying 'Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea'.

But even with the landing not going as planned, Insprucker emphasized the successful launch.

Regardless of the minor landing problem, there were no major safety issues nor was the mission goal affected in any way by the landing. "Given this event, we will likely add a backup pump & lines", he tweeted.

As 5,800 pounds of supplies successfully headed to the International Space Station from the Cape Wednesday, SpaceX's rocket booster zoomed back to Earth, making an unexpected splash down in the Atlantic Ocean. Only reigniting the booster's engines for a precise landing burn would have pulled it off that trajectory and toward the ground pad. "And, as much as we are disappointed in this missed landing - or landing in the water, rather, instead of land - it shows the system overall knows how to recover from certain malfunctions".

"A water-ditch landing is safer than an exploding rocket close to the ground", he told Business Insider.

Meanwhile, the Dragon spacecraft continues on its way to the space station, carrying fresh mouse food; new science and engineering experiments; and plenty of other goodies.

The rocket launched Wednesday was brand new and it is not clear yet what went wrong with the grid fin.

SpaceX is already the leading name in the realm of private space flight with many firsts to its name, but the company's most recent launch landed it in the record books multiple times over.

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