SpaceX rocket hoists cargo to space station ahead of unexpected splashdown

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SpaceX launched the holiday shipment on a Falcon 9 rocket, which pierced the clear, chilly sky. 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.

The Falcon 9 rocket's first stage will attempt a landing at SpaceX's site along the coast, Landing Zone 1.

It should arrive at the space station on Saturday morning. "All told, another great day for SpaceX and NASA". 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 launch was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the booster appeared to be undamaged.

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The nonmoldy food bars and their corresponding mice, which will support the study of aging-related effects in space, are among the components for 38 new investigations on the Dragon spacecraft, NASA officials said.

According to Associated Press, a Dragon capsule and its 5,600 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of cargo, was launched into space on Wednesday from Cape Canaveral in Florida. According to NASA, the Rocket experiment will test the reliability in space of a dental glue activated by ultraviolet light, while the Groot experiment will explore an alternative method for watering plants in a zero-gravity environment.

In late August, sensors detected a small pressure drop in the station's air supply that was traced to a leak in the upper habitation module of the Soyuz MS-09 vehicle.

Meanwhile, the Dragon spacecraft continues on its way to the space station, carrying fresh mouse food; new science and engineering experiments; and plenty of other goodies. The Monday Soyuz trip marked the first crew flight since an anomaly during launch grounded another crew in October. It, together with the ship Crew Dragon will with slight modifications be used to derive astronauts into orbit and return them to the Earth. Newcomers Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will stay until June.

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