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SpaceX successfully launches cargo mission to ISS but fails to recover rocket

The Falcon 9 carrying the Dragon space capsule lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air ForceStation, Florida. A SpaceX photo

CAPE CANAVERAL (BNS): Privately-run US space firm SpaceX on Tuesday successfully launched a cargo supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), but its attempt to recover the booster rocket intact post launch ended in failure.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon space capsule lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 4:10pm EDT (2010 GMT) Tuesday.

While weather had remained a concern during the countdown, Falcon 9 executed "a picture-perfect" liftoff into a nearly cloudless sky, SpaceX said.

The launch was to be followed few minutes later by an attempt at guiding the first stage of the carrier rocket for a precision landing on an ocean platform.

The plan was to recover the rocket after it completed its primary mission.

However, while the first stage made it to the autonomous spaceport drone ship and landed, excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over, the California-based space firm said.

A similar attempt by the firm in January this year had resulted in a fiery explosion after the leftover rocket landed too hard on the ocean platform.

Meanwhile, the Dragon capsule, loaded with about 4,300 pounds of supplies and payloads, separated from the Falcon 9 about 10 minutes after the flight to reach its initial orbit.

Dragon will now begin a two-and-a-half day journey to reach the ISS. It is targeted to be grappled by the station's robotic arm on Friday, April 17 at around 7:00am EDT (1100 GMT), with berthing and hatch opening occurring over the following day.

Tuesday's launch was the sixth resupply mission by SpaceX.


SpaceX  Falcon 9  Dragon  ISS  Rocket  

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