The 40 mice and 36,000 worms included in the 5,600 pounds of cargo aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket are for muscle and aging studies, but that’s less of a treat and more of a work thing. The real treat is the smoked turkey breast, cranberry sauce, candied yams, and the fruitcake that the international crew will get to dine on at some point after it arrives on Saturday. According to the Associated Press, there are two Americans, two Russians, one German, and one Canadian currently on board, but all except three will be leaving on December 20 so they probably won’t get to enjoy the best part of the special delivery.
The payload is expected to reach its target this weekend, but the launch didn’t go off without a hitch. Mold was found on the food for the mice, so more had to be sent in from California (how high-maintenance are these rodents that they need food flown in from California?) which delayed the launch a day. There was also an issue with the SpaceX booster. Instead of sticking the landing like SpaceX boosters always have, it decided to take a swim a couple miles offshore from the landing zone. “Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea,” Elon Musk tweeted after the incident. “Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data. Recovery ship dispatched.” He also shared a couple videos of the water landing with a tweet that read, “Engines stabilized rocket spin just in time, enabling an intact landing in water!”
Looks like a Christmas miracle to us.