Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

Moldy Mouse Chow Delays SpaceX Dragon Launch to Space Station After mice food delay, SpaceX set for space station resupply launch Wednesday
Cary Marshall | 06 December, 2018, 04:29

Experiments onboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule include studies on wound healing in space, as well as two studies by students inspired by Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" will also launch to the orbiting laboratory. 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.

The primary mission was an undeniable hit, but this time around, SpaceX's attempt to have the Falcon 9's first-stage booster touch down on a landing pad was a miss.

They hitched a ride on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 18:16 GMT on Wednesday.

Christmas turkey rocketed toward the International Space Station on Wednesday, along with cranberry sauce, candied yams and the obligatory fruitcake. That mission will feature a droneship landing, like several previous Iridium launches. This time around, the capture ship missed the nosecones but a tweet by Elon Musk explains that they touched down "softly in the water" which is a plus.

"What a great day for a launch", said Kennedy Space Center director Bob Cabana. Twenty years ago this week, Cabana commanded the shuttle mission that carried up the first USA part of the space station. Scientists expect a tenfold increase in the worm population. It turns out their muscles are similar to ours in structure and function, making them ideal lab substitutes, said lead scientist Timothy Etheridge of the University of Exeter in England.

More news: College basketball rankings: MI jumps in AP top 25

The launch was delayed one day after mold was discovered on food bars meant for rodents included in one of the experiments aboard the flight. The company's next launch, of the first Global Positioning System 3 satellite for the U.S. Air Force, is scheduled for no earlier than December 18, followed by the launch of the final 10 Iridium Next satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California no earlier than December 30. It should reach the space station Saturday.

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

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.

After separating from the second stage, and firing its engines to return to Earth, a video camera on board showed the first stage spinning.

SpaceX has been making station deliveries for NASA since 2012. The private company expects to start launching station crews next year.

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