Wednesday's Falcon rocket was brand new, while the Dragon cargo carrier was recycled by SpaceX. Wednesday's mission was SpaceX's 16th to resupply with space station.
Watch on NASA TV below, or at NASA's website, or via SpaceX's own webcast.
On Monday, it launched a Falcon 9 rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, which was headed to space-and the record books. The crew-carrying version of Dragon is schedule to fly a test mission next month, and if all goes well, will carry astronauts to the station later in the year in what would be the first crewed flight from US soil since the space shuttles retired in 2011.
In an extraordinary bit of live footage, SpaceX's first Falcon 9 Block 5 launch of the Cargo Dragon spacecraft was topped by a spectacular partial failure of the Block 5 booster during its attempted recovery at Landing Zone-1 (LZ-1).
A Falcon 9 begins to spin wildly on its landing approach.
But one of the booster's grid fins malfunctioned, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted Wednesday, causing the booster to spin erratically.
The Falcon 9 is equipped with four fins that rise perpendicular to the body of the rocket as it descends to help slow and control its approach for landing.
It seems that once the stalled fin finally extends all the way, the rocket nearly regains control and comes in for a landing almost like normal, but off target in the water.
"Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data". Although it is nearly without a doubt too early to actually know if the booster is in good enough condition to ever fly again, Musk seemed to directly suggest that it could eventually relaunch in support of an "internal SpaceX mission", basically either Starlink or tech development.
Musk also tweeted that the pump that failed is not redundant because "landing is considered ground safety critical, but not mission critical".
The launch was delayed for a day after NASA discovered that the food for the mouse-tronauts was mouldy because of contamination.
- Three days and 3,000 miles apart, SpaceX is aiming for their second launch this week, this time with a cargo flight to the space station.