Rocket carrying turkey, fruitcake heads to International Space Station

Wednesday's Falcon rocket was brand new, while the Dragon cargo carrier was recycled by SpaceX. It's the first time that's happened since the groundbreaking launch of the company's Falcon Heavy spacecraft in February.

Christmas turkey is rocketing toward the International Space Station (ISS), along with cranberry sauce, candied yams and the obligatory fruitcake.

On Monday, it launched a Falcon 9 rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, which was headed to space-and the record books.

What exactly went wrong is entirely unclear but roughly 30 seconds before a planned landing at LZ-1, Falcon 9 B1050 - shown live on SpaceX's webcast - began to spin at an increasingly rapid pace, visibly losing some of its aerodynamic control authority before SpaceX cut the live feed.

Falcon 9 B1050 fought til the end, coming to a shockingly soft landing despite spinning rapidly.

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Meanwhile, Musk tweeted that the problem was that a "grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea".

SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the booster appeared to be undamaged.

The mission, SpaceX´s 16th for NASA as part of a long-term contract to ferry supplies to space, successfully made it to orbit, which was the primary goal of the launch. "Given this event, we will likely add a backup pump & lines".

Experiments onboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule include studies on wound healing in space, as well as two studies by students inspired by Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" will also launch to the orbiting laboratory. Today, the uncrewed Dragon cargo capsule is scheduled to blast off from Florida at 1:16 p.m., with the rocket returning for a landing just south of its launch pad. 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 USA soil since the space shuttles retired in 2011.

First published December 5, 11:13 a.m. PT. Update, 12:38 p.m. PT: Adds more details about the launch.

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