SpaceX launches space station cargo ship

SpaceX launches space station cargo ship

SpaceX launches space station cargo ship

According to NASA, one of the experiments being sent to the space station involves mice, but before Tuesday's launch, "mold was found on food bars" for the rodent investigation. A Russian Progress freighter was launched from Kazakhstan on November 16 and a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship took off from Virginia the next day.

The mission got underway at 1:16 p.m. EST (GMT-5) when the Falcon 9's nine Merlin 1C engines ignited with a roar and a torrent of fiery exhaust, quickly pushing the 230-foot-tall booster away from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

However, the Falcon 9's payload fairing - an enclosure that protected the satellites during launch - missed a landing net on the barge and ended up in the ocean. Expect a landing back at the Cape for the brand new booster. According to, if all goes according to plan, the Dragon will reach the space station three days from now, and the ISS crew can start unpacking the load.

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

The booster, 1046, previously flew on May 11 and August 7.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that headed skyward this week is carrying a whole bunch of important cargo. SpaceX engineers were less happy with the first-stage booster which dropped into the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast, missing its designated landing zone on ground.

And the Dragon brings a special treat for one class of spacecraft: It's carrying a satellite deployment system called SlingShot that can fit inside the Cygnus spacecraft's berth to deploy up to 18 cubesats.

The CRS-16 mission is SpaceX's fourth resupply flight to the space station this year, but the first daytime launch in several months.

When the Dragon arrives, it will join five other spacecraft already at the station. But after the second stage separated and continued toward space, the returning first stage twisted and danced in the sky as it plunged towards its landing pad. The new crew members will assist in the docking of the Dragon cargo ship.

See that small space station?

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