Watch SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket landing fail in style

06 Décembre, 2018, 04:30 | Auteur: Therese Cote

The launch was delayed a day when NASA discovered that the food for the mouse-tronauts was mouldy because of contamination.

The mission is SpaceX's 16th for Nasa as part of a long-term contract to ferry supplies to space.

The mission, from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, took off at 1:16 p.m. Wednesday after a last-minute rodent-related delay this week.

The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topples onto its side after splashing down in the ocean during a failed landing attempt on December 5, 2018. After their stints in space, the mice will be euthanized so that their tissues can be compared with samples from earthbound mice. 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.

In space, the Dragon spacecraft performed as expected and should reach the ISS on Saturday morning before docking there for about five weeks. Canadarm2) to capture the Dragon spacecraft and attach it to the orbiting laboratory.

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Just two days earlier, three astronauts arrived at the space station to join the three already there.

Today's launch marked the second flight for this particular Dragon capsule, which was flown to the space station and back past year. SpaceX usually lands the rocket's booster and refurbishes it for another flight. That Falcon 9, he noted, won't attempt a landing, since it needs the booster performance that would be reserved for a landing to carry out the mission. But on the way down, one of the booster's titanium steering grids failed to work properly. CEO Elon Musk further noted that Falcon 9 B1050 - despite landing in the ocean - was intact and still transmitting telemetry, potentially allowing SpaceX to still recovery the forlorn rocket.

"The vehicle kept well away from anything where it could pose even the slightest risk to population and property", he said during a post-launch briefing. "So public safety was well-protected here".

Most recently, a Falcon 9 that launched from California included a booster with two previous launches under its belt.

What exactly went wrong is entirely unclear but roughly 30 seconds before a planned landing at LZ-1, Falcon 9 B1050 - shown live on SpaceX's webcast - began to spin at an increasingly rapid pace, visibly losing some of its aerodynamic control authority before SpaceX cut the live feed. During that mission, 64 satellites were successfully deployed in sun-synchronous orbit for the customers of Seattle-based Spaceflight, which handled pre-launch arrangements.

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