CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After a day's delay caused by moldy mice food, SpaceX blasted a Falcon 9 rocket into space, sending cargo and science experiments to the International Space Station.
- SpaceX rocket sending experiments, mice to space station
- Falcon 9 lifted off at opening of 1:16 p.m. ET launch window
- 1st-stage booster misses landing target, touches down in water
The first-stage booster, however, which was supposed to touch down on land, didn't hit its mark. It was the company's first missed ground landing. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted dramatic video of the booster's botched landing, both from shore and from a rocket-mounted camera.
The launch was initially scheduled for Tuesday, but the company found moldy food for 40 mice, part of experiments set to blast off toward the orbiting station.
Besides the mice experiment, which will look at the impacts of microgravity on aging, there are 250 other research investigations on board, plus some holiday cheer for the residents of the ISS.
Adia Buwala, 18, traveled from Greeneville, Tennessee, to watch her experiment launch. The high school senior wants to know whether dental glue activated by UV light can be effective in filling cavities in space.
"(For) long-term space travel, you need to have dentists, you need to have things that can cure cavities and stuff, so that's the goal, to cure the cavities," Buwala said.
NASA said "dental emergencies are considered one of the top five conditions having a negative impact on long-duration" missions.
A second experiment by Sarina Kopf will explore different methods of watering plants in microgravity.
Marvel is actually sponsoring Buwala's project. The comic and film studio selected projects to send to the ISS in hopes of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.
For those living aboard the ISS, Christmas dinner — with turkey, cranberry sauce, candied yams and fruitcake — is also on its way.
Just two days ago, three astronauts arrived at the ISS and joined three crew members already there. The crew includes two Americans, two Russians, one German and one Canadian. The newest residents will remain on board for six months, while the others will return to Earth on Dec. 20.
As the Dragon capsule maked its way to the ISS, SpaceX attempted to land the first-stage booster back on land at Landing Zone 1 at the Air Force station. But soon after, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that the booster landed just shy of the target and in the water.
According to Brevard County Emergency Management, the booster's "unscheduled water landing" isn't hazardous.
There were no immediate reports of pollution, the Coast Guard said.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this story.