SpaceX Launches Rocket from Nasa Pad in Florida, Com­pletes Re­land­ing

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Mi­ami: SpaceX on Sun­day blasted off its Fal­con 9 rocket car­ry­ing the un­manned Dragon cargo ship, packed with food and sup­plies for the six as­tro­nauts liv­ing at the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion. The white rocket soared into the cloudy, gray skies over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9:38 am (1438 GMT).

The mis­sion was the first to take off from Nasa’s his­toric launch­pad 39A, the ori­gin of the pi­o­neer­ing US space­flights that took as­tro­nauts to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the space shut­tle mis­sions that ran from 1981 to 2011.

T he l au nch was ini­tially planned for Satur­day, but was can­celled just 13 sec­onds be­fore liftoff due to a glitch with the rocket en­gine. “They re­solved all the tech­ni­cal is­sues last night,” said Nasa’s Bob Ca­bana, di­rec­tor of Kennedy Space Cen­ter. The ori­gin of the prob­lem — a piece of equip­ment known as the thrust vec­tor con­trol ac­tu­a­tor in the sec­ond stage — was re­placed. Sub­se­quent tests showed it was work­ing fine, a SpaceX spokesman ex­plained. The un­manned space­ship is packed with more than 5,000 pounds (2,267 kilo­grams) of food, gear and science ex­per­i­ments for the as­tro­nauts in or­bit. It is the 10th such re­sup­ply mis­sion for SpaceX, which along with Or­bital ATK has a multi-year con­tract with Nasa to send sup­plies to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion. Fol­low­ing the launch, SpaceX plans to try land­ing the booster por­tion of the Fal­con 9 at a dif­fer­ent part of Cape Canaveral. If suc­cess­ful, the up­right touch­down of the Fal­con 9’s first stage would mark t he t hi rd ti me SpaceX has man­aged to stick a land­ing on solid ground.

Other such land­ings have taken place on f loat­ing ocean plat­forms, as the com­pany per­fects its tech­niques of pow­er­ing costly rocket parts back to land in­stead of jet­ti­son­ing them in the ocean after a sin­gle use.

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