SpaceX Launch CRS-16 and Lose Block 5 Booster

SpaceX are set to launch a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket on its third mission for the first time ever.
A flight-proven Falcon 9 before the launch of the Es’hail-2 satellite on November 15, 2018 | Image credit: SpaceX

SpaceX has launched their 16th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-16) mission. The Falcon 9 launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 18:16 UTC (13:16 EST).

Although SpaceX had planned to recover the Block 5 first stage, the recovery was ultimately a failure. During the decent, the rocket appeared to begin to spin with cameras aboard the rocket’s first stage cutting out shortly after. Moments later, a SpaceX commentator noted that “It appears that the stage one of the Falon 9 has made a water landing.” In a Tweet shortly afterward, SpaceX founder and CEO identified the problem stating, “Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed in the Sea.”

The CRS-16 Dragon spacecraft is expected to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) on December 8 with capture expected at 11:00 UTC (06:00 EST). Coverage of the rendezvous, capture and installation of the Dragon capsule will be broadcast live from 09:30 UTC (04:30 EST) on NASA TV.

Aboard the Dragon spacecraft is 2,540 kilograms (5,600 pounds) of supplies and critical materials needed to support over 250 science and research investigations. Additionally, two CubeSats, one from the University of Southern Indiana and the other from NASA’s Ames Research Center, launched aboard the CRS-16 Dragon. The CubeSats will be deployed from the ISS.

In addition to being SpaceX’s 16th Commercial Resupply Mission, this morning’s launch was the company’s 20th of 2019. With the company planning to launch once more before the end of the year, SpaceX is set to further eclipse their 18-launch record year set in 2017.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.