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Christmas turkey rockets to space station

Christmas turkey is rocketing towards the International Space Station, along with cranberry sauce, candied yams and the obligatory fruitcake.

The SpaceX rocket booster missed its landing zone on the ground, however, and fell into the sea, just offshore.

Groans filled SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne, California, on Wednesday as live video showed the booster spinning out of control, still high above Cape Canaveral in Florida.

It was the company's first missed ground landing, although it has overshot floating barges a number of times in the past, a tougher thing to pull off.

A SpaceX commentator called it a "bummer" but noted it was secondary to the Falcon 9 rocket's main mission of getting the Dragon capsule to orbit.

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

The hydraulic pump for the booster's landing fins apparently stalled, he noted via Twitter.

SpaceX's 12 previous ground landings, dating to 2015, were successful.

The disappointment was offset by the successful flight of the Dragon capsule and its 2.5 tonnes of cargo, which should reach the space station on Saturday.

Besides smoked turkey breast and all the other fixings for Christmas dinner, the delivery includes 40 mice and 36,000 worms for ageing and muscle studies.

© AP 2018