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SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

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SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

But breaking four records isn't the only thing on SpaceX's plate this week - the company is targeting 1:16 p.m. ET Wednesday for a Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral, this time with thousands of pounds of cargo for the International Space Station.

SpaceX CEO and lead designer Elon Musk tweeted that the reusable booster was undamaged and appeared to be transmitting data. The first-stage booster aimed for a touchdown on land back at Cape Canaveral, once its job was done, but ended up smashing into the Atlantic Ocean instead.

On Monday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, the SSO-A Smallsat Express mission, using a first stage that was making its third flight.

The Space Coast launch Wednesday will be SpaceX's 16th under the company's commercial resupply contract for NASA.

The launch was initially scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed due to *checks note* moldy mouse food. The food bars were replaced and the payload is ready to travel to the space station.

Those experiments are the winners of a national contest organized by Marvel Entertainment and the U.S. National Laboratory that asked students to develop "microgravity experiment concepts that related to the Rocket and Groot characters" from the films. Those projects will test dental glue and a plant-watering process for space. Dragon will separate from Falcon 9's second stage about 10 minutes after liftoff and attach to the space station on Saturday, December 8. Six spacecraft is the maximum the space station has held, according to NASA spokesperson Dan Huot.

In late August, sensors detected a small pressure drop in the station's air supply that was traced to a leak in the upper habitation module of the Soyuz MS-09 vehicle. The crew includes two Americans, two Russians, one German and one Canadian. According to Space.com, if all goes according to plan, the Dragon will reach the space station three days from now, and the ISS crew can start unpacking the load.

Astronaut Anne McClain, also from NASA, will monitor telemetry during the spacecraft's approach.

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