Launch of CRS-13 Dragon on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket


The launch was initially set for last Friday but was delayed, as SpaceX said it was "taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to the detection of particles in the second stage fuel system".

As we've written, this launch is a big freaking deal, the first time NASA has used a previously-flown rocket to do an ISS resupply.

The rocket did go vertical on Space Launch Complex-40 early on Friday, increasing confidence that a flight will occur today.

The launch of the Commercial Resupply Services 13 mission. Not only did the Falcon 9 successfully deliver the Dragon to orbit, it came back down to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

By recycling this most expensive part of the launcher, the boss of SpaceX Elon Musk intends to reduce launch costs and ultimately make space travel more affordable.

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Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. That's where it landed back in June following its first launch. Once SpaceX identified the cause of the catastrophic explosion - a rupture in the Falcon 9's upper stage helium pressurization system - launches resumed from pad 39A at the nearby Kennedy Space Center while crews rebuilt pad 40.

The paper also suggests that the government has more than recouped its $140 million initial investment in the development of SpaceX's Falcon 9. The Dragon spacecraft atop the rocket will carry 4,800 pounds of crew supplies and payloads, as well as more than 250 science and research payloads.

SpaceX said: "Under the CRS contracts, SpaceX has restored an American capability to deliver and return significant amounts of cargo, including live plants and animals, to and from the orbiting laboratory".

SpaceX isn't the only company working toward reusability.

Today's mission has suffered from a few delays, though.