Another cargo shipment headed to the International Space Station is about to leave Cape Canaveral, so if you want to see SpaceX launch another big rocket into space this afternoon then you’re in for a treat.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule has been successfully serving its purpose as a reusable delivery capsule for a third time now, and having now completed multiple unmanned trips to and from the ISS it’s safe to say everyone involved has gotten very good at it. Still, there’s something fantastic about being able to watch as the massive Falcon 9 rocket propels the comparably tiny capsule into space.
This rocket is a little different than the others that have been fired recently, as it is equipped with four 25-foot long landing legs. These legs are a part of their reusable rocket program, which we’ve seen in some impressive video demonstrations recently. Unlike the test videos, a ground landing is not being attempted. Instead, when the first stage rocket breaks off from the rest of the unit it will attempt a vertical landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
This shipment contains about 5000 pounds of everything the crew floating above us needs to live and work, from experiments like a small vegetable farm and prehensile legs for Robonaut 2 to food and water.
SpaceX plans to launch at 3:25 Eastern, with a stream showing the pre launch procedures starting at least an hour beforehand. The company is contracted with NASA for nine more cargo launches after this one, each with secondary and tertiary goals designed to test more of the SpaceX reusable rocket projects. It’s unclear when we’ll learn the results of the vetrical landing for the stage one rocket today, but the chances are good it will be part of the confirmation press release delivered after the launch.
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