SpaceX suffers ‘bummer’ landing, first-stage booster crashes into ocean

Mindy Sparks
December 6, 2018

The live feed from the rocket cut away on the SpaceX webcast, but video from people in the media area at the cape showed the Falcon 9 appearing to regain control before making an unplanned landing in the water rather than ashore at the landing area.

Wednesday's Falcon rocket was brand new, while the Dragon cargo carrier was recycled by SpaceX. The company expects to start launching station crews next year.

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.

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

The SpaceX Dragon capsule is carrying more than 5,600 pounds of experiments, food - for astronauts and mice - and other supplies for the space station, according to NASA.

Elon Musk's SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from California on Monday carrying 64 small satellites into low orbit around the Earth, which the company called the largest-ever "rideshare" mission by a US -based rocket.

A Falcon 9 begins to spin wildly on its landing approach. The hydraulic pump for the landing fins apparently stalled, but the engines stabilized the approximately 160-foot-tall booster just in time, allowing for "an intact landing", Musk noted via Twitter. Then, it will return to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off California. Remarkably, it seems SpaceX may still be able to recover the rocket.

The mission, SpaceX´s 16th for NASA as part of a long-term contract to ferry supplies to space, successfully made it to orbit, which was the primary goal of the launch.

This is SpaceX's 20th launch for the year 2018, surpassing its record number launches by two. It was the company's first missed ground landing, although it has overshot floating barges plenty of times in the past, a tougher feat to pull off.

First published December 5, 11:13 a.m. PT. Update, 12:38 p.m. PT: Adds more details about the launch.

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