The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket on its operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. As USA Today notes, the rocket's booster was the first Falcon 9 to launch three missions, an important part of the company's plan to reduce costs by reusing rockets.
The cause of the rocket's spin, according to Musk, was a stalling out of one of the rocket's "grid fin hydraulic pump".
'Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data.
Koenigsmann said the booster deliberately avoided land after sensing a problem, a built-in safety feature, and even managed to touch down upright in the Atlantic, atop its landing legs.
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It is the first time in 13 attempts that a Space X booster has missed a ground landing, but it has fallen short during landings on floating barges several times in the past.
The rest of the CRS-16 launch proceeded perfectly, with the Dragon spacecraft entering successful orbit, deploying its solar arrays, and beginning its chase of the ISS.
The 5,600 pounds of cargo were blasted into space successfully on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Then, it will return to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off California. "Given this event, we will likely add a backup pump & lines", he tweeted. Koenigsmann said the flight termination system is turned off when the booster no longer poses a threat to the public. In the background, viewers could still hear the team on-console making callouts as the rocket's landing burn started, culminating in a call for the landing team to "move to contingency procedure [s]", the only SpaceX affirmation that something went wrong.
SpaceX/YouTubeA SpaceX Grasshopper rocket self-destructs in August 2014 after an engine sensor failure. "It knows where buildings are, so it's pretty smart in that aspect", he said of the landing system on the booster.
SpaceX is set to demo its first crew capsule on January 7 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. 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.