Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Here’s how to watch SpaceX’s Dragon take off for the space station

SpaceX Delay May Mean 36,000 Wormy Passengers Are Too Old for Their Planned Experiments Scientists will send thousands of C. elegans up to space in hopes of understanding muscle loss in astronauts. Credit Shutterstock
Cary Marshall | 06 December, 2018, 00:44

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. The private company expects to start launching station crews next year.

The booster was also the first to launch from all three of SpaceX's pads (Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Vandenberg).

A SpaceX Falcon 9 makes a splashdown after having problems approaching its planned landing zone.

The mission is SpaceX's 16th for Nasa as part of a long-term contract to ferry supplies to space.

The feed was then cut from the webcast, but groans and cheers could be heard from the crowd at SpaceX headquarters in California as SpaceX engineer Tom Praderio, who was co-hosting the webcast, conveyed the information about the rocket's water landing.

More news: Grace Millane: British backpacker missing in New Zealand

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. The video seems to show that one of the fins didn't initially extend all the way, causing the rocket to spin. Remarkably, it seems SpaceX may still be able to recover the rocket.

CEO Elon Musk further noted that Falcon 9 B1050 - despite landing in the ocean - was intact and still transmitting telemetry, potentially allowing SpaceX to still recovery the forlorn rocket.

This is SpaceX's 20th launch for the year 2018, surpassing its record number launches by two.

The failed landing was a first for a return-to-launch-site landing. The crew-carrying version of Dragon is schedule 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.

Watch the launch live on ClickOrlando.com/space beginning at 1 p.m.

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