SpaceX CRS6 Launch & Landing?!

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Images & Videos Credit & Copyright: SpaceX & NASA.

Text via NASA YouTube page for this launch:

The sixth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract launched on Tuesday, April 14, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 4:10:40 p.m. carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the station. Dragon is filled with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support about 40 of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during the space station’s Expeditions 43 and 44.   Science investigations aboard Dragon include commercial and academic payloads in myriad disciplines, exploring new ways to possibly counteract the microgravity-induced cell damage seen during spaceflight; studying the effects of microgravity on the most common cells in bones; gathering new insight that could lead to treatments for osteoporosis and muscle wasting conditions; continuing studies into astronaut vision changes; and testing a new material that could one day be used as a synthetic muscle for robotic explorers of the future.  After about five weeks at the space station, Dragon will return to Earth filled with more than 3,000 pounds of cargo including crew supplies, hardware and computer resources, science experiments, and space station hardware.

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Shortly after 1st stage burnout and separation the booster sprouted landing legs, grid fins and made its way to the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship “Just Read The Instructions” where it made its second attempt at a vertical, at-sea landing. Though the attempt ultimately failed, the result was much closer to success than the first attempt as the booster actually seemed to touch down for a moment before it seemed to skate off the platform doe to what looks like excess thrust at touchdown. All in all a pretty amazing job coming from a technology we are watching mature before our eyes. Can’t wait for the next attempt!

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