Space X, NASA, falcon 9

On Wednesday, a holiday shipment carrying Christmas turkey combined with candied yams, cranberry sauce as well as fruitcake was launched to deliver the supplies to ISS (International Space Station). The shipment was launched on a SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket that blasted off the clear, blue sky.

SpaceX launches shipment carrying Christmas cheer to ISS
SpaceX, ISS

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. The live video feed taken by people and press of the rocket booster showed how it lost control when it was just a few miles offshore.

However, the video also showed how the rocket appeared to retrieve control just before it made an unplanned landing in the ocean. Shortly after the incident, Elon Musk tweeted that the booster seemed to remain undamaged. Hydraulic pump meant for landing fins stopped functioning. However, the engines regained control and retrieved the booster well before time, thus allowing it to make a landing in water instead of the Landing Zone 1.

This was the first time that a SpaceX rocket missed intact ground landing. All the earlier SpaceX ground landings, since the year 2015, were successful. The private space company has altogether recouped 32 boosters after lift-offs. The count will be 33 after this booster is towed back properly, a vice president of SpaceX, Hans Koenigsmann said. He does not know yet if the booster could be reused.

Koenigsmann further said that the booster stayed away from making a ground landing deliberately after it sensed an issue. This is a safety feature which comes built-in the booster. This is why the booster managed to make an upright landing in the ocean.  He told the media that public safety was protected well here. The dismay was sidelined to the success of having the Dragon capsule- along with the 2.5kg of cargo delivery- in orbit.

It is expected to reach the ISS on Saturday. Bob Cabana, director, Kennedy Space Center said that it was a great day to perform the launch. It was 20 years ago, the same December week that Cabana directed a space shuttle mission carrying the first ever United States part of ISS. Apart from the turkey breast and the other Christmas dinner items, the cargo also includes 36,000 worms and 40 mice to carry out ageing as well as muscle studies.

The scientists expect that there will be a huge increase in the population of worms which the space station will be able to accommodate. Besides, a study also shows that the muscles in worms are the same in function and structure to human muscles thus making them the perfect subject to carry out a study, said researcher Timothy Etheridge.

The launch was postponed by a day as NASA found the food meant for the mice during their space trip to be mouldy. A fresh stock of food was brought in for them from California. Since the year 2012, SpaceX has continued making space station deliveries for space agency NASA. Moreover, SpaceX expects to begin launching space station crew in the following year.


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