SpaceX has a Falcon 9 landing failure during supply mission

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Scientists will send thousands of C. elegans up to space in hopes of understanding muscle loss in astronauts. Credit Shutterstock

But breaking four records isn't the only thing on SpaceX's plate this week - the company is targeting 1:16 p.m. ET Wednesday for a Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral, this time with thousands of pounds of cargo for the International Space Station.

Christmas turkey is rocketing toward the International Space Station, along with cranberry sauce, candied yams and the obligatory fruitcake. SpaceX usually lands the rocket's booster and refurbishes it for another flight.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted, "Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea".

"Appears to be undamaged and is transmitting data".

Some space-watchers griped about SpaceX cutting away from the botched landing in their live-stream of the event. "We will show all footage, good or bad", he added.

SpaceX has enjoyed notable success landing its Falcon 9 rocket, which enables the company to reuse the vehicle for decreased costs, among other things.

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Altogether, the company has recovered 32 boosters following liftoff - 33 once this one is towed back, said Hans Koenigsmann, a SpaceX vice-president. It is unknown, however, whether this particular rocket will be certified for another launch, due to possible damage from contact with salt water.

Musk also tweeted that the pump that failed didn't have a backup because "landing is considered ground safety critical, but not mission critical".

Musk has the Pentagon beat when it comes to euphemisms, though. The early Falcon 9 rocket stages proved that the model was viable, but the Block 5 is capable of being used up to 100 times before finally needing to be disposed of.

Think your friends would be interested? A recovery team was then dispatched to pull the first stage out of the water.

Koenigsmann also stressed that the public was never in danger during today's landing attempt. The stage, at one point spinning rapidly, ended up touching down on the surface of the ocean a few kilometers offshore. The second stage of the Falcon 9 is still on its way to the ISS and is expected to reach its destination on December 8. "It knows where buildings are, so it's pretty smart in that aspect", he said of the landing system on the booster.

The launch can be viewed online for free via the SpaceX YouTube channel here. SpaceX redesigned those COPVs after a September 2016 pad explosion in order to meet NASA safety requirements for future commercial crew missions.

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