SpaceX Falcon rocket forced to make emergency crash landing in the ocean off Cape Canaveral after spinning out of control during its final descent

  • The rocket span out of control and it approached the landing site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
  • Rocket was due to land Instead made a controlled sea landing – and SpaceX claims is can still be reused 
  • Elon Musk said a ‘Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea’
  • Rocket had already delivered Dragon cargo ship into space, which is on its way to the ISS

A SpaceX Falcon rocket has been forced to land in the Atlantic ocean after problems during an attempt to land at Cape Canaveral. 

Elon Musk’s space firm said the mission did blast off its unmanned Dragon cargo ship, loaded with supplies, science experiments and food for the astronauts living at the International Space Station.

However, the launch was marred by a system failure on the rocket which caused it to land in the sea, instead of on land at Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, as planned.

SpaceX quickly cut the live feed from the rocket as it began to spin out of control. 

Moments later, it said ‘It appears stage 1 has made a water landing off the coast of Cape Canaveral.’ 

Elon Musk later posted footage of the incident, saying ‘Engines stabilized rocket spin just in time, enabling an intact landing in water! Ships en route to rescue Falcon.’ 

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    WHAT WENT WRONG? 

    One of the grid fins the rocket uses to stabilize istself and control direction failed, it is believed.

    The finds are controlled by hydraulic pumps, one of which failed. 

     

    The rocket is believed to have come down two miles off the Florida coast.

    Elon Musk tweeted ‘Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea.’ 

    ‘Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data. 

    ‘Recovery ship dispatched.’

    He later added that the rocket appeared in good shape, and could be reused on a  future mission. 

    Wednesday’s Falcon rocket was brand new, while the Dragon cargo carrier was recycled by SpaceX. 

    The capsule should reach the 250-mile-high outpost Saturday; it also visited in 2017. 

    The mission had been a complete success until the aborted landing. 

    ‘We have had a great liftoff,’ said SpaceX commentator John Insprucker, as the Falcon 9 rocket soared into the sunny, blue sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:16 pm (1816 GMT), carrying 5,600 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of gear.

    A SpaceX commentator later called it a ‘bummer,’ but noted it was secondary to the main mission of getting the Dragon capsule to orbit. 

    It was the first missed landing at Cape Canaveral. 


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    SpaceX quickly cut the live feed from the rocket as it began to spin out of control. Pictured, the smo

    A Falcon 9 first stage rocket returns towards the intended landing pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station before missing and landing in the Atlantic Ocean after delivering a Dragon cargo spacecraft to orbit

    Elon Musk later confirmed the issue, saying ‘Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea.’

    However, Christmas turkey is rocketing toward the International Space Station, along with cranberry sauce, candied yams and the obligatory fruitcake.

    Besides smoked turkey breast and all the other fixings for Christmas dinner, the delivery includes 40 mice and 36,000 worms for aging and muscle studies, respectively.

    Researchers expect a tenfold increase in the worm population.  

    It turns out their muscles are similar to ours in structure and function, making them perfect lab substitutes, said lead scientist Timothy Etheridge of the University of Exeter in England.

    SpaceX has landed more than 30 of its boosters successfully back on Earth, either on land or on a floating platform.

    The effort is aimed at reducing the cost of launches by re-using expensive components, instead of jettisoning them in the ocean after each mission.

    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 designed to study the effect of microgravity on the immune system.

    The  Falcon 9 first stage rocket returns towards the intended landing pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station before missing and landing in the Atlantic Ocean: Wednesday’s Falcon rocket was brand new, while the Dragon cargo carrier was recycled by SpaceX

    The bad food was replaced ahead of Wednesday’s launch.

    Other experiments among the more than 250 on board include a new kind of mustard green lettuce that astronauts will grow in space.

    The Dragon space capsule that flew on Wednesday was used once before, on a supply mission in February 2017.

    It should arrive at the space station on Saturday.

    The Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket on its operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station lifts off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. However, the launch was marred by a system failure on the rocket which caused it to land in the sea

    SpaceX quickly cut the live feed from the rocket as it began to spin out of control

    The mission is SpaceX’s 16th for NASA, as part of a long-term contract to ferry supplies to space.

    Other experiments among the more than 250 on board include a new kind of mustard green lettuce that astronauts will grow in space.

    The Dragon space capsule that flew on Wednesday was used once before, on a supply mission in February 2017.

    It should arrive at the space station on Saturday morning.

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