SpaceX launches ISS Resupply mission using Reusable Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX launches ISS Resupply mission using Reusable Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX has successfully launched a resupply mission for the International Space Station (ISS) using its reusable Falcon 9 rocket. The current mission marks 50th mission for Falcon rocket developed by SpaceX. The mission launched on Friday with clear skies over Florida’s Space Coast. The reusable Falcon 9 rocket has successfully finished ISS resupply mission earlier as well. After the launch, SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully touched down at ground-based Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX has successfully used Falcon 9 for 14 missions this year. This marks the first time SpaceX has employed a used Falcon 9 rocket for NASA resupply mission. While SpaceX has successfully demonstrated the capabilities of its reusable rocket technology, only few of SpaceX’s commercial customers have gone ahead with its used rocket for flying their missions. Recently, NASA agreed to employ used rocket for its resupply mission. NASA informed that decision to employ a used rocket for its missions will be made on case-to-case basis.

The current NASA resupply mission carried approximately 4,800 pounds of cargo and experiments for ISS. The mission was earlier planned for December 12 but SpaceX delayed it due to some issue with rocket’s fuel system. The company found some particles in the fuel system and an investigation was conducted. Just 10 minutes after the liftoff, the rocket released the supply capsule into the planned preliminary orbit.

The current mission used SpaceX’s launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SLC-40. The launch site was not used after explosion of a SpaceX rocket at the site last September. The company repaired the launch base and has spent $50 million to upgrade the launch site. In private space technology segment, SpaceX has registered impressive advancement and the company is ready for future missions.

SpaceX plans to launch its Falcon 9 missions from SLC-40 and its Falcon Heavy flights from 39A. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk earlier informed that the company was ready to launch in November. However, the demo flight has been postponed to January 2018. SpaceX is also working on a piloted version of Dragon capsule for ferrying astronauts. The company already has secured a $2.6 billion contract for the same.

As per a report published by CBS News, “SpaceX needs both East Coast launch pads to fly off a backlog of satellites in its $10 billion manifest. The company plans to use complex 40 primarily for civilian and military payloads and to launch space station crew and cargo missions from pad 39A.”

"Instead of just rebuilding the pad as it was, we wanted to modernize it," Jessica Jensen, SpaceX manager of Dragon operations in Florida. "Basically, we wanted to take a 10-year-old pad and make it high tech."