SpaceX has completed its second trip by its Falcon 9 rocket, completing its trip carrying the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) cargo-carrying Dragon capsule from Florida back to Earth. The Falcon 9 launched from Cape Canaveral at 1:29 p.m. ET Friday, carrying the capsule carrying station astronauts Anne McClain and Jack Fischer, as well as ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst of Germany. The space capsule left the International Space Station at 5:34 p.m. ET, although its parachute systems are falling out of alignment. The capsule landed within the center of the expected track of the Falcon 9, but the landing legs didn’t extend in time, and the capsule landed in a southeast section of the Atlantic Ocean.
Not a good first landing, rocket’s legs weren’t properly extended. #DragonWithCargo pic.twitter.com/1QxVWTG5ok — Jim Plummer (@habibster) March 9, 2019
SpaceX has one more unmanned flight under its contract with NASA, and McClain and Fischer are the second and third NASA astronauts to successfully travel into space and back. This was the fourth flight for the company since the rocket began offering cargo, but the first time an astronaut has flown in such a mission. NASA is continuing to look into plans for additional manned flights, which would be a first for a commercial U.S. rocket.
The flight also included the launch of a new experiment from the Russian Roscosmos space agency, called DESERT-2. The mission can be viewed here.