Wednesday, 20 March, 2019


SpaceX Launches Dragon Cargo Ship to Space Station, But Misses Rocket Landing

An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon capsule sits on launch pad 40 after a scrubbed launch attempt Weather Could Cause Delay of SpaceX Cargo Mission Launch to ISS REUTERS Scott Audette
Kristine Garrett | 08 December, 2018, 06:30

As USA Today notes, the rocket's booster was the first Falcon 9 to launch three missions, an important part of the company's plan to reduce costs by reusing rockets.

As for the current iteration of the Falcon 9 rocket, at the time of the third launch took place yesterday with one of the sites of the company in the Pacific - experts spoke about the lack of such a need. According to the CRS-16 mission overview, after the Cygnus leaves the space station for the first time, it can navigate to a higher orbit and release the cubesats.

This is SpaceX's 20th launch for the year 2018, surpassing its record number launches by two. While the deployment of the Dragon spacecraft was successful, the first stage booster did not make it back to the landing pad.

SpaceX on Wednesday 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 successfully land its booster afterward. Unfortunately, SpaceX suffered a malfunction when a grin fin hydraulic pump stalled and Falcone landed out to sea. "Now, the good news is we've got a lot of telemetry from it, so we'll be able to understand what happened and work to improve reliability as we always do here at SpaceX".

The Falcon 9 is equipped with four fins that rise perpendicular to the body of the rocket as the craft descends, to help slow and control its approach for landing.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the booster appeared to be undamaged.

The Falcon 9 rocket launch was scheduled for Tuesday, but the night before liftoff NASA announced technicians found mold on food bars for the space station rodent investigation. The single engine powering the second stage then was expected to ignite to continue the Dragon's climb to orbit.

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. Three of the crew members arrived earlier this week and they'll remain there for the next six months. The Dragon is scheduled to return to Earth in mid-January.

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