SpaceX Sends Cargo Ship To International Space Station But Booster Landing Fails

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket goes vertical on Wednesday morning in Florida

Meanwhile, Musk tweeted that the problem was that a "grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea". The sight triggered a mixture of anxious "oohs" and "aahs" from SpaceX employees who were watching, then the booster's video feed cut out from the broadcast.

SpaceX has 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 land the rocket.

Despite failing to land safely on its landing pad, the Falcon 9 rocket accomplished its mission of sending SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station to provide the crew with food and supplies. SpaceX engineers were less happy with the first-stage booster which dropped into the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast, missing its designated landing zone on ground.

"The first stage did land in the water", SpaceX spokesperson John Insprucker said during a live webcast.

Musk also posted the video of the first stage's descent, which showed it spinning as it fell to Earth, how its spin rate was slowly arrested with correctional thrusts, and how it touched down on the ocean and fell sideways into the water.

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SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the booster appeared to be undamaged. The first-stage rockets have a 84 percent recovery rate, according to the company. The change may simply have resulted from landing-leg deployment, he said. The capsule should reach the 250-mile-high outpost Saturday; it also visited in 2017. These steerable, waffle-like devices help the rocket guide itself toward a landing site while returning to Earth, then stabilize the booster during landing.

SpaceX is contracted to carry out resupply missions to the ISS through 2024 using the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft. "Given this event, we will likely add a backup", Musk tweeted.

SpaceX on Wednesday had trouble sticking the landing with one of its reusable rockets. "It knows where buildings are, so it's pretty smart in that aspect", he said of the landing system on the booster. The crew-carrying version of Dragon is schedule to fly a test mission next month, and if all goes well, will carry astronauts to the station later in the year in what would be the first crewed flight from USA soil since the space shuttles retired in 2011.

SpaceX is already the leading name in the realm of private space flight with many firsts to its name, but the company's most recent launch landed it in the record books multiple times over.

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