Science

SpaceX shipment reaches space station after weekend launch

SpaceX shipment reaches space station after weekend launch”

The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon space capsule rumbled aloft at about 2:48 a.m. local time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

They couldn't resist a reference to Star Wars Day as the craft streamed into the sky. The launch was broadcast live on SpaceX's website.

The Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to reach the ISS on May 6. Both problems were quickly resolved.

Minutes after liftoff, SpaceX landed its brand new, first-stage booster on the ocean platform roughly 10 miles (16 kilometers) off the coast, considerably closer than usual with the sonic booms easily heard at the launch site.

"The vehicle was destroyed", said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability at SpaceX, during a Thursday press conference in advance of Saturday's CRS-17 flight with NASA. NASA has given SpaceX a $2.6 billion contract for building the Crew Dragon capsule that NASA was planning to use for returning human space flight back to USA soil.

Barely 24 hours before the launch, a test of the company's Crew Dragon capsule was also disrupted by an explosion, something SpaceX labelled "an anomaly".

Koenigsmann said earlier this week the company still does not know what caused the empty capsule to burst apart in flames on a test stand.

This latest cargo Dragon - marking the company's 17th shipment - is carrying equipment and experiments for the six space station astronauts, including an instrument to monitor carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. Dragon will deliver nearly 5,500 pounds of science, supplies and hardware, according to NASA, and is slated to attach to the station on Monday.

That fix was successful, and the spacecraft now heads to the International Space Station, a journey which is expected to take at least two days. The Dragon capsule separated and was confirmed as traveling in a good orbit. The AP is exclusively responsible for all content.



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