SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lands in ocean after successful cargo launch

Meanwhile, Musk tweeted that the problem was that a "grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea".

The rest of the CRS-16 launch proceeded perfectly, with the Dragon spacecraft entering successful orbit, deploying its solar arrays, and beginning its chase of the ISS.

Falcon 9 B1050 seen shortly before a grid fin lost control, throwing the rocket into a near-uncontrollable spin.

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 Falcon 9 first stage used on the launch of a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station was meant to land at the company's Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral, several kilometers to the south of Space Launch Complex 40, where the rocket lifted off. 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.

SpaceX's 12 previous ground landings - dating back to 2015 - all were successful.

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"The first stage did land in the water", SpaceX spokesperson John Insprucker said during a live webcast.

In what has become a rare sight, the Falcon 9 vertical on the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station awaiting blast off is a new rocket.

'Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data. "Recovery ship dispatched", Musk said via Twitter today.

- Three days and 3,000 miles apart, SpaceX is aiming for their second launch this week, this time with a cargo flight to the space station. The change may simply have resulted from landing-leg deployment, he said. The booster, covered in black soot from its two prior flights, landed again on an ocean barge in the Pacific Ocean after launch, queuing up the rocket to fly for a fourth time. "Given this event, we will likely add a backup pump & lines", he tweeted. If SpaceX rockets misbehave, that could prompt the agency to perform a safety review and delay those experimental launches. "It knows where buildings are, so it's pretty smart in that aspect", he said of the landing system on the booster.

It should arrive at the space station on Saturday.

But in this case, nothing that'd be considered critical to NASA's mission - only SpaceX's convenience - seems to have gone wrong.

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