• The space station’s six astronauts were getting a little low on supplies. That’s because the previous supply ship — owned by another company — was destroyed in an October launch explosion. NASA scrambled to get equipment lost in the blast aboard Dragon, as did school children who rustled up new science projects.
  • NASA is paying SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. for shipments. Orbital’s rockets are grounded until next year, however, because of its launch accident. SpaceX — the only supplier capable of returning items to Earth — is picking up as much slack as it can. Russian and Japan also plan deliveries this year.
  • After the first stage of the Falcon rocket peeled away as planned following liftoff, it flew back to a giant platform floating off the Florida coast. The guidance fins on the booster ran out of hydraulic fluid, however, right before touchdown, and it landed hard and broke into pieces.

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