Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

It was the first time SpaceX ever failed to land a booster on solid ground, following a string of 12 straight successes.

The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket on its operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.

Koenigsmann also revealed at the briefing that the rocket's upper stage, which successfully placed the Dragon cargo spacecraft in orbit, used redesigned composite-overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) used to store helium to pressurize the stage's propellant tanks.

"Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea".

SpaceX launched the holiday shipment on Wednesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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The SpaceX Dragon capsule is carrying more than 5,600 pounds of experiments, food - for astronauts and mice - and other supplies for the space station, according to NASA. Among these were materials that are critical to supporting the ongoing research and investigations aboard the ISS.

Watch the launch live on ClickOrlando.com/space beginning at 1 p.m. Falcon 9's first stage for the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission previously supported the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 mission in May and the Merah Putih mission in August. At 10:26 am PST (01:26 pm EST), SpaceX announced "Second stage engine burn complete". In other words, Falcon 9 performed fine during ascent and only exhibited off-nominal behavior during the booster's attempted landing after separating from the upper stage and Dragon payload.

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. It marked the first time the same booster flew three separate missions.

The webcast below should begin about 20 minutes before liftoff. This was apparently due to the failure of one of the grid fins, which stabilize the first stage during its descent.

"Recovery ship dispatched", tweeted SpaceX chief Elon Musk. Musk also indicated that ships were en route to retrieve the booster. SpaceX redesigned those COPVs after a September 2016 pad explosion in order to meet NASA safety requirements for future commercial crew missions. Expect a landing back at the Cape for the brand new booster. In addition, this should not distract from the fact that the launch itself went by the numbers. It's scheduled to arrive Saturday morning. Canadarm2) to capture the Dragon spacecraft and attach it to the orbiting laboratory.

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