Watch SpaceX launch its first reusable rocket to the International Space Station

19 December, 2017, 11:41 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • SpaceX launch livestream ISS

The launch marked the first time SpaceX used previously flown hardware - a Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule - to send cargo up to the ISS, signifying NASA's confidence in the viability and reliability of its reusable launch vehicles. It last visited the space station in April 2015.

This launch is also a big milestone for SpaceX because of where the mission is taking off from: the company's launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SLC-40. This is the first time the company flew both a used rocket and a used Dragon capsule on the same launch. When SLC-40 went offline past year, SpaceX had to rely on its other pad at the Cape, a site called LC-39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, to launch all of its Florida missions.

This was SpaceX's fourth launch with a used booster and the second time with a used Dragon spacecraft.

In pic: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from newly refurbished Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Cape Canaveral.

Meanwhile, a Merlin engine on the rocket's expendable upper stage fired to propel a SpaceX-owned Dragon supply ship into orbit, commencing a two-day pursuit of the space station more than 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth.

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The gleaming white Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket soared into the blue sky over Florida at 10:36 am (1536 GMT).

(2,177 kilograms) of supplies and scientific gear for astronauts on the space station. The first mission launched from the site since the disaster, it's a sign of healing and progress for Elon Musk's space giant. This event makes SpaceX the first entity to build, launch, land and reuse their own rocket boosters, and cargo capsules together.

On Tuesday the aerospace manufacturer said it was "targeting" Wednesday December 13 for the mission dubbed CRS-13, but the date was later postponed.

As for Christmas presents, NASA isn't saying, in true Santa style. Meanwhile, SpaceX has just a couple more flights to round out the year, including today's cargo resupply flight.

The commercial cargo craft is scheduled to depart the station in mid-January and splash down in the Pacific Ocean with research specimens for analysis by scientists around the world.

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