SpaceX launches Dragon cargo ship to ISS, but fails to land rocket

Ismael LynchDec 08, 2018

SpaceX has a contract to ferry American astronauts to the space station as part of what's known as the Commercial Crew program with NASA, but the timeline for the first flights has slipped repeatedly.

SpaceX's successful Falcon 9 rocket launch proved to be quite a spectacle for viewers and was considered a success despite the lost booster.

SpaceX is contracted to carry out resupply missions to the ISS through 2024 using the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft.

For failure, the first stage of a reusable launch vehicle, the Falcon 9 landed nearly on the shores of Florida.

Company CEO Alan Musk wrote on Twitter, "The grid in hydraulic pump stops, that's why the Falcon could only land in the sea". The wet landing was gentle enough that the rocket remains intact.

The rocket engines compensated somewhat for the spin, and by the time the rocket hit the water, its fin had emerged. Musk also indicated that ships were en route to retrieve the booster. The booster, No. B1050, was still transmitting data back to SpaceX after it landed in the water.

The US military described Wednesday's mission as "a successful launch but a non-nominal landing".

Minutes after liftoff, the rocket's first stage separated as normal, but as that booster part prepared into position for landing, it appeared to lose control and started spinning.

Musk says the new "block 5" Falcon 9 stages are designed fly dozens of times with minimal refurbishment between launchings, a key element in the company's drive to lower launch costs by recovering and re-flying recovered stages.

The rocket was being used to send a capsule of cargo up to the International Space Station. Through this cargo, Species was sending supplies science experiments and food to astronauts living at the International Space Station.

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