SpaceX launches cargo, but fails to land rocket

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So a shipment of smoked turkey breast, cranberry sauce, candied yams and, of course, fruitcake was rocketed to the International Space Station Wednesday with delivery expected by Saturday.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Wednesday, December 5, from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, but after successfully propelling the Dragon capsule, loaded with cargo and supplies, on its way to the International Space Station, the rocket malfunctioned on its return to Earth and spiraled into a failed landing.

Television cameras switched away from the rocket a moment before impact, but amateur video showed the rocket extending its landing legs and slowing for landing on the power of a single engine, the normal procedure for touchdown. However, there was an unexpected failure during the landing of the first stage booster of the Falcon 9 rocket.

In a tweet, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk attributed the crash to a stalled hydraulic pump (which controls the fins on the rocket). "Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data".

SpaceX's 12 previous ground landings - dating back to 2015 - all were successful. He did not know if it could be reused.

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"Public safety was well protected here", he told reporters.

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

The rocket also carried 40 mice and 36,000 worms to help researchers with age and muscle studies, the Associated Press reported. It turns out their muscles are similar to ours in structure and function, making them ideal lab substitutes, said lead scientist Timothy Etheridge of the University of Exeter in England.

But as the Associated Press reports, the launch was delayed by a day because food for some of the station's other residents was moldy. More food was rushed in from California. The private company expects to start launching station crews next year.

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