At this point, SpaceX’s amazing achievements are becoming ordinary. Today, the company will make history again when it launches a used Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center at 5:55 Eastern time.
Update at 5:40 p.m.: The launch has been delayed due to lightning. SpaceX is rescheduling for Saturday, June 3 at 5:07 p.m. Eastern.
Today’s launch is the 11th Cargo Resupply mission and the 100th launch from Complex 39A at Kennedy. The Dragon will carry with it 6,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station, including the NICER instrument, which will detect neutron stars using an X-ray spectrometer.
So far, all systems are go with a great forecast and no technical failures to report. Live coverage of the event will begin at 5:15 Eastern time and can be seen on Facebook Live or NASA TV.
Saving the pieces saves SpaceX a lot of money. Every Falcon 9 costs about $62 million total and the first-stage booster is about $46.5 million. The Dragon Spacecraft being used today was salvaged from the CRS-4 mission in 2014.
By demonstrating that they can reuse the first-stage booster and the Dragon capsule, SpaceX will prove they are ready to save the second-stage booster. Of course, all of this is in an effort to make space travel efficient, safe, and inexpensive so that one day, we may fly these vessels to Mars where humans can start an entirely new civilization.
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Photos via NASA/SpaceX