SpaceX NASA Launch Is Successful Despite Rocket’s Water Landing
Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched a rocket carrying more than 5,600 pounds of crew supplies, science investigations and spacewalk equipment Wednesday as part of its longstanding contract with NASA to ferry cargo to the International Space Station.
The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 1:16 p.m. local time. The payload in the Dragon capsule includes technology to test robotic spacecraft refueling and to map the world’s forests, along with two student experiments inspired by Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” series, according to NASA. The rocket’s first stage went into the water instead of touching down on land. Musk tweeted about the problem: Dragon is slated to rendezvous with the orbiting lab early Saturday and re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California in January, according to NASA. Wednesday’s mission, known as CRS-16, marks SpaceX’s 20th launch of the year, up from a record 18 in 2017. The company has been able to cut costs and win market share by designing its rockets and spacecraft for reusability. The Dragon capsule last flew to the space station in February 2017.