SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lands in ocean after successful cargo launch

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket goes vertical on Wednesday morning in Florida

The rocket brought a turkey, helpings of cranberry sauce, candied yams and a fruitcake to allow the crew to enjoy Christmas as they might have back on Earth.

The CRS-16 mission launched supplies to the ISS on Wednesday, but the booster headed for the landing pad missed and landed in the water instead, ending SpaceX's flawless record of 12 previous successful landings.

The SpaceX booster missed its landing zone on the ground after liftoff, however, and ended up in the sea just a couple of kilometres offshore.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket failed to stick the landing after successfully launching a supply pod to the International Space Station. He said the rocket appears to be undamaged and is still transmitting data to the control room.

In a tweet, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk attributed the crash to a stalled hydraulic pump (which controls the fins on the rocket).

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SpaceX had made 27 successful landings since June 2016, according to Spaceflight Now.

Regardless of the minor landing problem, there were no major safety issues nor was the mission goal affected in any way by the landing.

The mold had grown on food for 40 mice which, along with 36,000 worms, were also shipped to the space station for aging and muscle studies.

A SpaceX commentator called it a "bummer", but noted it was secondary to the main mission of getting the Dragon capsule to orbit. Scientists expect a tenfold increase in the worm population. It turns out their muscles are similar to ours in structure and function, making them flawless lab substitutes, said lead scientist Timothy Etheridge of the University of Exeter in England. "All told, another great day for SpaceX and NASA".

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. More food was rushed in from California. At least three more launches - two from Cape Canaveral, one from Vandenberg - are expected before the year is out.

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