Published: Tue, December 19, 2017
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

SpaceX Rocket Launch And Landing From ISS Resupply Mission

SpaceX Rocket Launch And Landing From ISS Resupply Mission

It was the first time SpaceX had flown a recycled rocket with a recycled capsule on top, at the heart of the company's effort to drive down launch costs. On board was a Dragon supply ship, also a second-time flier.

Riding a column of brilliant flame from nine Merlin 1D main engines, the Falcon 9 rocket climbed away from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad at 10:36:09 a.m. EST (1536:09 GMT) Friday, turning northeast over the Atlantic Ocean to align with the space station's orbital track.

The launch marked the return to service of SLC-40, which suffered extensive damage in a September 2016 pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 and its satellite payload during preparations for a static fire test. SpaceX spent about $50 million to rebuild and improve the pad. The first-stage Falcon 9 booster used in Friday's launch was safely recovered once again, so it could potentially be used in a third mission.

As before, SpaceX will attempt to land the first-stage booster back at Cape Canaveral after liftoff.

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The launch was originally scheduled to occur earlier this week, but it was delayed twice - once for additional prelaunch ground checks and a second time to conduct full inspections and cleanings after SpaceX detected particles in the rocket's second-stage fuel system. The first mission launched from the site since the disaster, it's a sign of healing and progress for Elon Musk's space giant. This is the 14th successful landing by SpaceX this year. The agreement reached between NASA and SpaceX applied only to Friday's launch - the 13th Dragon resupply flight to head for the space station. It will be SpaceX's thirteenth supply run for NASA. The Dragon capsule made a space station shipment in 2015. When not filming, or reporting on rocket launches from inside NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Thaddeus can be found mountaineering, practicing photography, and helping communicate science by creating documentary short videos.

"I can not confirm or deny the presence of Christmas presents on-board Dragon", said Kirk Shireman, NASA's space station program manager.

The launch was the first Dragon mission to use a previously-flown first stage, in this case one that first flew on a previous Dragon launch in June.

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