Published: Tue, June 06, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Delayed SpaceX used rocket 'Dragon' has successful Space Station launch

Delayed SpaceX used rocket 'Dragon' has successful Space Station launch

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket blasted off at 5.07 pm on Saturday carrying the Dragon capsule.

And it's now entertaining the possibility of going with used Falcon 9s on future resupply missions as well, NASA officials said. Falcon 9 has just touched back down at the time of publishing and Dragon is well on its way in its two and a half day journey to the ISS.

SpaceX will try again this afternoon to launch a mission to the Internantional Space Station.

Over the past year and a half, SpaceX has gotten the knack of having its Falcon 9 first-stage boosters fly themselves back for landings and recoveries.

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Other parts of Dragon's payload will help demonstrate new solar panels and help scientists explore the physics of neutron stars, according to a release from NASA.

Scientists hope to one day use the data from NICER to create a galactic Global Positioning System, enabling future spacecraft and explorers to navigate the cosmos. In addition to the NASA space shuttle orbiters and the U.S. Air Force X-37B orbital test vehicles, a Soviet VA spacecraft and a NASA Gemini capsule were flown twice.

The launch was the 100th from NASA's historic launch pad 39A, the starting point for the Apollo missions to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a total of 82 shuttle flights. The refurbished capsule was previously sent to resupply the space station on the SpaceX CRS-4 mission in September 2014. Ten minutes before the Falcon's landing, Elon Musk's spaceflight company launched a Dragon spacecraft, which will orbit several times.

"The risk was not substantially more than a brand new Dragon capsule", he added.

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It's all part of the company's quest, Koenigsmann said, to lower the cost of access to space through reusability. After the trial, the 15-foot (5 m) long array will be furled and re-stowed in the Dragon's trunk to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.

SpaceX has been hauling station supplies for NASA for five years, both up and down. Leahy's diverse career has included work for The Walt Disney Company, NASA, the Department of Defense, Nissan, a number of commercial space companies, small businesses, nonprofits, as well as the Science Cheerleaders.

While the Dragon was reused, the Falcon 9 was new.

Until SpaceX and Boeing start transporting crews, astronauts will continue to ride Russian rockets.

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Under the agreement, NanoRacks will deliver the device to the USA side of the space station and astronauts there will conduct studies using the device in about two weeks, data from which will be sent back to the Chinese researchers.

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