SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

SpaceX Falcon 9 First Stage Crash Landing In Ocean Off Cape Canaveral Florida

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

SpaceX successfully launched ISS cargo from Cape Canaveral in Florida this afternoon, and as it has 26 times in the past, planned to land its Falcon 9 rocket for reuse. The first-stage booster aimed for a touchdown on land back at Cape Canaveral, once its job was done, but ended up smashing into the Atlantic Ocean instead.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that a grid fin hydraulic pump stalled was the likely cause of the failed landing attempt.

'Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data. Viewers were greeted with clear skies as the Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket carried 64 different spacecraft from 34 separate organizations as part of the Spaceflight Industries SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission. That ticket gets viewers less than 3.5 miles from the launch pad and gives them a great view of the launch. The company is contracted with NASA to help bring people in addition to supplies to the space station.

Landing Zone 1 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

The mold had grown on food for 40 mice which, along with 36,000 worms, were also shipped to the space station for aging and muscle studies.

When the Dragon arrives, it will join five other spacecraft already at the station. According to the CRS-16 mission overview, after the Cygnus leaves the space station for the first time, it can navigate to a higher orbit and release the cubesats.

See that small space station? The crew-carrying version of Dragon is scheduled 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 US soil since the space shuttles retired in 2011. The others return home on December 20, leaving only three for Christmas dinner, not counting the mice and worms. SpaceX is expected to conduct an uncrewed test launch of its passenger craft in 2019 and then conduct its first crewed test later in the year. Newcomers Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will stay until June. The Dragon capsule will deliver more than 5,600 pounds of food and supplies to the crew, as well as scientific experiments, including the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation, which will measure the impact of climate change on the world's forests.

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