SpaceX successfully launches its 20th mission of the year

SpaceX's Falcon rocket ditches in water after sending cargo to ISS

"The engines in time stabilized the rotation of the rocket, allowing for a safe landing in the water!"

Company CEO Alan Musk wrote on Twitter, "The grid in hydraulic pump stops, that's why the Falcon could only land in the sea".

The CRS-16 mission launched supplies to the ISS on Wednesday, but the booster headed for the landing pad missed and landed in the water instead, ending SpaceX's flawless record of 12 previous successful landings. The mission was also historic because it involved a booster making its third successful landing.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off successfully at 1:16 pm Eastern Standard Time from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying 2,500 kilos of supplies, including science experiments and food for six astronauts now on board the ISS.

The Falcon rocket used for Wednesday's launch was not used in any prior mission. "Dragon confirmed in good orbit", followed shortly thereafter by confirmation that its solar arrays had deployed.

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In a post-launch press briefing, SpaceX's vice president of build and flight reliability, Hans Koenigsmann, said the booster worked as designed, targeting the water - instead of land or buildings - when it sensed a malfunction.

In September 2014, NASA awarded the two companies a huge $6.8 billion contract to ensure that the United States would continue to send US astronauts to the International Space Station without buying the headquarters of the Russian Soyuz probe.

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.

SpaceX and Boeing have signed a contract with NASA to send USA astronauts to the International Space Station.

The bad food was replaced ahead of Wednesday's launch.

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