A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket vaulted off the pad from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday, tearing its way through unusually clear blue skies on a path to secure at least four company records before deploying dozens of spacecraft. The rocket hovered just over the water, then toppled out of view - the first failure over land in the last 12 tries, though that's not quite how one of SpaceX's top engineers painted it.
Meanwhile, Musk tweeted that the problem was that a "grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea".
If what Musk says proves true, the rocket is certainly wet but not much worse for the wear after the landing and will be recovered which is pretty damn impressive.
On board: 670 pounds of food, clothing and other supplies for the station's crew, 2,286 pounds of science equipment and supplies - including 40 rodents - almost 200 pounds of spare parts and other station-related gear, 88 pounds of computer equipment, 33 pounds of spacesuit components and tools and about 25 pounds of Russian cargo. Wednesday's launch was called CRS-16, because it is the sixteenth of twenty awarded by NASA to SpaceX.
"Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data". The launch was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed.
The capsule should reach the 250-mile-high outpost Saturday; it also visited in 2017.
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It was the first missed landing at Cape Canaveral.
Among the new experiments sent to the space station are the growth of ordered crystals of antioxidant proteins in microgravity that can protect the body from the effects of radiation and some harmful chemicals, and a mice study to understand the physiology of aging and the role it plays on the progression of disease in humans.
Shortly after launch, the first stage booster was headed for a landing on the tip of Cape Canaveral.
After separating from the second stage, and firing its engines to return to Earth, a video camera on board showed the first stage spinning.
Astronauts who are lucky enough to score a gig aboard the International Space Station make a lot of sacrifices in the name of science.
Astronaut Anne McClain, also from NASA, will monitor telemetry during the spacecraft's approach.