Christmas Dinner Rocketed To International Space Station

Pat Wise
December 7, 2018

Smoked turkey breast, cranberry sauce, candied yams, and fruitcake are all on the menu this year, but not all the scientists now on board the spacecraft will be able to enjoy the meal on Christmas eve or day.

SpaceX is contracted to carry out resupply missions to the ISS through 2024 using the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft.

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.

A SpaceX booster stage crashed into the ocean during an attempt to land at Cape Canaveral Wednesday (Dec. 5), after it launched a supply spacecraft to the International Space Station. He said the rocket appears to be undamaged and is still transmitting data to the control room.

A stalled hydraulic pump for one of the booster's grid fins caused it to enter into a rapid spin on its return flight.

"Ships en route to rescue Falcon", he tweeted.

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

Koenigsmann said the booster deliberately avoided land after sensing a problem, a built-in safety feature, and even managed to touch down upright in the Atlantic, atop its landing legs.

SpaceX stressed that their primary mission was launching NASA's supplies into space, and so far that mission is on track, with the Dragon spacecraft scheduled to reach the ISS on December 8. It should reach the space station at the weekend.

Besides smoked turkey breast and all the other fixings for Christmas dinner, the delivery includes 40 mice and 36,000 worms for aging and muscle studies, respectively.

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. "All told, another great day for SpaceX and NASA". More food had to be rushed in from California. The company expects to start launching station crews next year.

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