Watch live: After delay, SpaceX to launch space station resupply mission
08 December, 2018, 01:38
After a one day delay caused by moldy mice food, the latest SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft lifted off Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 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.
CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter soon after the breathtaking loss of control and expected landing time, stating that the SpaceX team now pegged the failure on a grid fin's stalled hydraulic fin, which ultimately caused the wild spinning seen in the webcast.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the booster appeared to be undamaged. After more than two dozen successful rocket landings, SpaceX's most recent attempt resulted in a splashdown, though the rocket remained intact and was retrieved by the company.
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.
When the Dragon arrives, it will join five other spacecraft already at the station.
The arrival of the Dragon spacecraft will also be the subject of a live webcast.
The Dragon space capsule that flew on Wednesday was used once before, on a supply mission in February 2017.
See that small space station? SpaceX is expected to conduct an uncrewed test launch of its passenger craft in 2019 and then conduct its first crewed test later in the year. The crew-carrying version of Dragon is scheduled 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 US soil since the space shuttles retired in 2011.
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev will head back to Earth Dec. 20 after six and a half months in space - but not before helping out with unpacking the Dragon! It weighs in at 5,600 pounds, and while much of the shipment is fairly typical of a resupply mission, there's also a very special holiday dinner packed away that some of the crew members will get to enjoy when Christmas rolls around.
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