SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lands in ocean after successful cargo launch
Dec 08 2018
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying 64 "smallsats", set a record for most satellites strapped to a rocket booster, a stack more than 20 feet tall.
The Falcon 9 rocket blasted into a clear, chilly sky; the first-stage booster was aiming for a touchdown back at the launch site, once its job was done. Musk also shared the video of a rocket landing on his Twitter account. It appeared to be undamaged and was transmitting data, Musk said, adding that a recovery ship was sent to retrieve it. The wet landing was gentle enough that the rocket remains intact.
Space experts called the water landing a "successful failure".
The Dragon spacecraft, carrying almost 3 tons of science and supplies, is scheduled to rendezvous with the International Space Station on Saturday.
The trouble started shortly after Wednesday's afternoon launch, when the hydraulic system on the booster's grid fins failed, Musk tweeted, causing it to start spinning rapidly toward the Atlantic Ocean.
In this image taken from NASA Television, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft approaches the robotic arm for docking to the International Space Station, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.
The rocket's first stage went into the water instead of touching down on land. 'Ships en route to rescue Falcon'.
Just like the Falcon 9 booster used on the SmallSat mission, the Dragon spacecraft was used in missions before.
The rocket was initially meant to take off Tuesday but was delayed for a day after engineers discovered moldy mouse food in one of the science investigations created to study the effect of microgravity on the immune system.