SpaceX will launch the Dragon spacecraft carrying more than 5,600 pounds of supplies and experiments on one of its Falcon 9 rockets on the CRS-16 mission, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said.
Monday witnessed both a Soyuz rocket blasting three newcomers to the ISS and a Falcon 9 rocket taking 64 smallsats into orbit 310 miles (500 km) above Earth. The rocket hovered just over the water, then toppled out of view - the first failure over land in the last 12 tries, though that's not quite how one of SpaceX's top engineers painted it.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that a grid fin hydraulic pump stalled was the likely cause of the failed landing attempt.
If what Musk says proves true, the rocket is certainly wet but not much worse for the wear after the landing and will be recovered which is pretty damn impressive. The station's CanadaArm is expected to bring the capsule aboard early Saturday morning.
The Falcon 9's cargo featured 15 microsats and 49 cubesats from commercial and government entities, ranging from universities, to startups, to even a middle school.
However, the SpaceX first-stage booster, which was supposed to touch down on the ground at Cape Carnival after the lift-off, went out-of-control and crashed in the Atlantic Ocean.
"Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data". Today's SpaceX launch was previously postponed after mould was found on food bars in the cargo hold.
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The Dragon spacecraft itself should leave the station and head back to Earth in January, according to Kirt Costello, ISS program chief scientist at Johnson Space Center.
However, the Falcon 9's payload fairing - an enclosure that protected the satellites during launch - missed a landing net on the barge and ended up in the ocean.
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Some 5,600 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of food, experiments and other gear is packed onto the unmanned Dragon cargo ship, which will blast off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
When the Dragon arrives, it will join five other spacecraft already at the station.
The astronauts on board the International Space Station are scheduled to get a nice resupply of goods in the coming days.