SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

Author: 
AFP
ID: 
1544051852580173500
Wed, 2018-12-05 19:02

TAMPA: SpaceX on Wednesday blasted off its unmanned Dragon cargo
ship, loaded with supplies, science experiments and food for the
astronauts living at the International Space Station but failed to
successfully land its booster afterwards.
“We have had a great liftoff,” said SpaceX commentator John
Insprucker, as the Falcon 9 rocket soared into the sunny, blue sky
over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:16 p.m. (1816 GMT), carrying
5,600 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of gear.
The mission, SpaceX’s 16th for NASA as part of a long-term
contract to ferry supplies to space, successfully made it to orbit,
which was the primary goal of the launch.
But the tall portion of the rocket missed its goal of securing an
upright landing on solid ground at Cape Canaveral’s Landing Zone
1.
After separating from the second stage, and firing its engines to
return to Earth, a video camera on board showed the first stage
spinning.
Then the live feed was cut off.
“Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to
sea,” CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter.
“Appears to be undamaged and is transmitting data. Recovery ship
dispatched.”
SpaceX has landed more than 30 of its boosters successfully back on
Earth, either on land or on a floating platform.
The effort is aimed at reducing the cost of launches by re-using
expensive components, instead of jettisoning them in the ocean
after each mission.
The rocket was initially meant to take off Tuesday, but was delayed
for a day after engineers discovered moldy mouse food in one of the
science investigations designed to study the effect of microgravity
on the immune system.
The bad food was replaced ahead of Wednesday’s launch.
Other experiments among the more than 250 on board include a new
kind of mustard green lettuce that astronauts will grow in
space.
The Dragon space capsule that flew on Wednesday was used once
before, on a supply mission in February 2017.
It should arrive at the space station on Saturday.

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SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket