A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket vaulted off the pad from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday, tearing its way through unusually clear blue skies on a path to secure at least four company records before deploying dozens of spacecraft. SpaceX's webcast recap can be viewed below.
Unfortunately, SpaceX suffered a malfunction when a grin fin hydraulic pump stalled and Falcone landed out to sea. 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.
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. Musk added that the Falcon 9 appears to be undamaged and is transmitting data.
The Falcon 9 rocket launch was scheduled for Tuesday, but the night before liftoff NASA announced technicians found mold on food bars for the space station rodent investigation. It was the first time a rocket has been used for a third time.
When the Dragon arrives, it will join five other spacecraft already at the station. The Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge is sponsoring student experiments to develop a UV-activated dental glue that could help astronauts on long-duration voyages and another testing a mist-based irrigation system for plants grown in space.More news: 'Game of Thrones' Season 8: HBO Drops First Official Teaser
"It was an incredible launch", Joel Montalbano, deputy ISS Programme Manager, NASA's Johnson Space Centre in Houston, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
The mission comes days after India fired a rocket carrying 31 satellites into space. In all, more than 5,600 pounds of cargo were crammed into the ship and are expected to safely reach the ISS hatch on Friday, December 7. It was also reported that SpaceX and NASA will experience a passenger Crew Dragon capsule.
The timing of the holiday doesn't work out well for three of the crew members now aboard the space station.
Flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston will take over at that point, operating the arm by remote control to pull the Dragon in for berthing at the Earth-facing port of the station's forward Harmony module.
Astronaut Anne McClain, also from NASA, will monitor telemetry during the spacecraft's approach.