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

Pablo Tucker
December 8, 2018

Unloading the rocket on the ocean's landing platform is a bit screwy, but SpaceX has succeeded in making the Falcon safe in the sea.

NASA spokeswoman Megan Powers wrote in an email that Musk met with NASA deputy director of exploration and human operations Bill Gerstenmaier in Washington. The booster, No. B1050, was still transmitting data back to SpaceX after it landed in the water.

But the tall portion of the rocket missed its goal of securing an upright landing on the solid ground at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zone 1. The launch itself was a success, but landing the rocket for reuse didn't go as planned.


SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Wednesday, December 5, from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, but after successfully propelling the Dragon capsule, loaded with cargo and supplies, on its way to the International Space Station, the rocket malfunctioned on its return to Earth and spiraled into a failed landing.

To the global space station kicked off the sixteenth mission of the cargo ship Dragon under the NASA contract with SpaceX.

The rocket was directed away from the coastline and out to the Atlantic Ocean, where it managed to recover from its spin just before landing safely in the water.


Wednesday's mission (CRS-16) was initially scheduled to blast off on Tuesday, but was postponed for a day after the mission team found that the mouse food in one of the science experiments had gone mouldy.

Just like the Falcon 9 booster used on the SmallSat mission, the Dragon spacecraft was used in missions before. The Dragon capsule last flew to the space station in February 2017.


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