Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Science | By

SpaceX set to send cargo to space station

SpaceX set to send cargo to space station

The disappointment was offset by the successful flight of the Dragon capsule and its 2500kg of cargo. The booster toppled over but remained afloat, and SpaceX was sending out boats to tow the stage back to the harbor at neighboring Port Canaveral. SpaceX plans to land the new Falcon 9 booster back at Cape Canaveral a few minutes after launch, the first onshore landing since the Falcon Heavy launch in February.

Wednesday's Falcon rocket was brand new, while the Dragon cargo carrier was recycled by SpaceX.

Remarkably, the rocket stabilized and was able to land in water as opposed to crashing and possibly exploding on land.

It's been a busy time for Elon Musk and SpaceX, lately. Although it is nearly without a doubt too early to actually know if the booster is in good enough condition to ever fly again, Musk seemed to directly suggest that it could eventually relaunch in support of an "internal SpaceX mission", basically either Starlink or tech development. That mission will feature a droneship landing, like several previous Iridium launches.

"Ships en route to rescue Falcon", he tweeted. Twenty years ago this week, Cabana commanded the shuttle mission that carried up the first US part of the space station.

Just two days earlier, three astronauts arrived at the space station to join the three already there.

Besides smoked turkey breast and all the other fixings for Christmas dinner, the delivery includes 40 mice and 36,000 worms for ageing and muscle studies.

Thousands of worms have been fired into space so that scientists can learn how their muscles work in zero gravity. It turns out their muscles are similar to ours in structure and function, making them flawless lab substitutes, said lead scientist Timothy Etheridge of the University of Exeter in England. More food was rushed in from California.

The launch was delayed for a day because of a problem with food for the mice.

Anne McClain, an American who studied at Bath and Bristol universities, and Canadian David Saint-Jacques, who studied at Cambridge University, launched from Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz on Monday.

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.

Watch on NASA TV below, or at NASA's website, or via SpaceX's own webcast.

Today's launch marked the second flight for this particular Dragon capsule, which was flown to the space station and back a year ago.

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