The Dec. 3 mission is the largest single "rideshare" from a US -based launch vehicle to date, according to SpaceX. In other words, Falcon 9 performed fine during ascent and only exhibited off-nominal behavior during the booster's attempted landing after separating from the upper stage and Dragon payload.
LZ 1 was built on the former site of Space Launch Complex 13, a Cold War-Era U.S. Air Force rocket and missile testing range last used in 1978.
When SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy, which is essentially powered by three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together, the center booster didn't land as planned on a drone-ship in the Atlantic, though the two other rockets returned to ground safely.
The booster continued to function after it landed in the water, going through its automated safeing process and transmitting data.
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.
First published December 5, 11:13 a.m. PT. Update, 12:38 p.m. PT: Adds more details about the launch.
Today continues an extraordinary week for orbital launches. "Honestly I am a little bit puzzled myself" as to how the rocket stopped itself from spinning. They also do not know exactly when the anomaly began - before or during the entry burn. NASA ISS Deputy Program Manager Joel Montelbano called it an "incredible launch".
The rocket was initially meant to take off Tuesday, but was delayed for a day after engineers discovered moldy mouse food in one of the science investigations created to study the effect of microgravity on the immune system. NASA discovered Monday that the food for the mouse-tronauts was mouldy.
Dragon will arrive at the ISS about 6:00 am ET on Saturday morning where it will be grappled using the robotic Canadarm2 and then installed onto one of the ISS docking ports. The crew includes two Americans, two Russians, one German and one Canadian.
It is carrying experiments in forest observation, protein crystal growth and in-space fuel transfer demonstration and supplies that will support the crew, station maintenance and dozens of the more than 250 investigations aboard the space station, NASA said in a statement.
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