By now, it's routine for the Falcon 9 rocket first stages to make dramatic upright landings a few miles from their launch pads or out at sea on barges.
But the tall portion of the rocket missed its goal of securing an upright landing on solid ground at Cape Canaveral s Landing Zone 1. Shortly after the incident, Elon Musk tweeted that the booster seemed to remain undamaged. The rocket landing was not required for SpaceX's main mission: delivering 5,600 lbs. "Nothing wrong with a little swim", Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla Inc, said on Twitter. It completed Falcon 9's third launch and landing this year. The count will be 33 after this booster is towed back properly, a vice president of SpaceX, Hans Koenigsmann said. He did not know if it could be reused.
"Public safety was well protected here", he told reporters.
On board: 670 pounds of food, clothing and other supplies for the station's crew, 2,286 pounds of science equipment and supplies - including 40 rodents - almost 200 pounds of spare parts and other station-related gear, 88 pounds of computer equipment, 33 pounds of spacesuit components and tools and about 25 pounds of Russian cargo. According to Space.com, if all goes according to plan, the Dragon will reach the space station three days from now, and the ISS crew can start unpacking the load. Bob Cabana, director, Kennedy Space Center said that it was a great day to perform the launch. Liftoff is targeted for 1:16 p.m. EST, or 18:16 UTC, from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. There will be plenty of room on board for all the tiny nematodes. Besides, a study also shows that the muscles in worms are the same in function and structure to human muscles thus making them the ideal subject to carry out a study, said researcher Timothy Etheridge.More news: Body found in hunt for missing British backpacker Grace Millane
The launch was initially scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed due to *checks note* moldy mouse food.
Most recently, a Falcon 9 that launched from California included a booster with two previous launches under its belt. The station's CanadaArm is expected to bring the capsule aboard early Saturday morning. The crew includes two Americans, two Russians, one German and one Canadian.
The International Space Station now has six crewmembers; three arrived Monday (Dec. 3), and three have been there since June.
SpaceX has been making station deliveries for NASA since 2012.