SpaceX Will Land a Rocket on Solid Ground Once Again

Early Monday morning, the company will bring a Falcon 9 booster back to Cape Canaveral for the first since December. 


SpaceX will conduct its ninth resupply mission to the International Space Station at 12:44 a.m. Eastern on Monday, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. After five landing attempts on a floating droneship in the Atlantic, Elon Musk’s aerospace company will attempt to land on terra firma again, the first attempt since December.

The late-night launch of its Falcon 9 rocket will take a Dragon capsule to low Earth orbit and bring 2,200 pounds of supplies to the ISS, including essential resources for the crew, new tools and technologies, and items related to 250 new and ongoing scientific investigations being run aboard the space station.

As of today, there’s a 90 percent chance the weather will be favorable enough for the mission to proceed within the launch window. If the first attempt is scrubbed, a second launch might be attempted on late on Tuesday.

As has been the case with all recent SpaceX launches, the company will attempt to return the first stage of its Falcon 9 to Earth. Although the company was on a string of successful landings for several months, the last attempt in June failed, when the rocket lost too much liquid oxygen to early and the engine shut down prematurely, causing it to land hard into the company’s Of Course I Still Love You ocean droneship in the Atlantic.

In this case, the company will attempt to land the rocket on land for the first time since December — when SpaceX first accomplished a vertical booster landing. After having landed a Falcon 9 on an ocean droneship three times, SpaceX should have little trouble getting the rocket on solid ground at Cape Canaveral once again. Furthermore, the rocket is just going to low-Earth orbit, and should not run into a premature fuel depletion similar to the June crash.

Here’s the December landing:

But space is hard. You never know what might happen.

You can watch the livestream on NASA TV.

Here’s the full forecast: