SpaceX launched its unmanned Dragon cargo ship to the international space station on Thursday but failed to successfully land its booster afterward as the tall portion of the rocket missed its goal of securing an upright landing on solid ground at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zone 1. The rocket was loaded with supplies, science experiments and food for the astronauts living there. The Falcon 9 rocket soared into the sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:16 pm (1816 GMT), carrying 5,600 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of gear.
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"Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea," CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter. "Engines stabilized rocket spin just in time, enabling an intact landing in water! Ships en route to rescue Falcon," he wrote.
Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea. Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data. Recovery ship dispatched.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 5, 2018
"We have had a great liftoff," said SpaceX commentator John Insprucker. SpaceX is in a long-term contract with NASA to ferry supplies to space.
Earlier, Russian Soyuz spacecraft landed one astronaut each from the US and Canada and a cosmonaut from Russia, on the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft was launched on Monday from the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Soyuz has Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques on board. Saint-Jacques and McClain were on board for the first time, while Kononenko has already logged 533 days in space and this trip will be his fourth mission.
McClain, Saint-Jacques and Konenenko docked to the space station's Poisk module at 12.33 p.m. after a four-orbit, six-hour journey, and opened the hatch between the two spacecraft at 2.37 p.m., and are adjusting to life, NASA said in a statement on Tuesday.
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The new arrivals to the ISS will join the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russia's Sergey Prokopyev, who have been in orbit since June but are due to fly back to Earth on December 20.