SpaceX has decided to push its launch of a recycled rocket and spacecraft back another few days, after detecting particles in part of the fuel system.
The flight was originally scheduled for Friday December 8, but has faced multiple delays as engineers worked to ready the pad and payload, and conduct some last minute tests.
If successful, the mission will mark another historic first by Elon Musk’s aerospace company, launching both a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule.
It was set to lift-off today, but it now appears the firm is not taking any chances; last night, SpaceX tweeted that the launch has been rescheduled for a third time, as they’re now eyeing Dec 15.
SpaceX has decided to push its launch of a recycled rocket and spacecraft back another few days, after detecting particles in part of the fuel system. The flight was originally scheduled for Friday December 8, and has since been delayed three times
WHY THIS LAUNCH IS A BIG DEAL
SpaceX’s launch this week will refly both a flight-proven orbital rocket and spacecraft for the first time.
The unmanned Falcon originally flew in June, with the firm’s 11th resupply mission for the ISS.
And, the Dragon capsule made a space station shipment in 2015 in support of the sixth cargo mission.
This time, the Dragon capsule will be towing nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies to the ISS – including a barley experiment for Budweiser.
‘Taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspection and cleanings due to detection of particles in 2nd stage fuel system,’ SpaceX tweeted.
‘Now targeting CRS-13 launch from SLC-40 on Dec 15.
‘Next launch opportunity would be no earlier than late December.’
Elon Musk revealed the details on the ambitious plan just last week.
Over the last few days, however, the firm has indicated that there are still a few loose ends to wrap up before takeoff.
On Monday, SpaceX said it had pushed back the launch a second time, moving it from Tuesday to Wednesday.
It was first scheduled for the previous Friday.
The mission will launch both a recycled rocket and spacecraft for the first time.
‘Now targeting Dec 13 for launch of CRS-13 from SLC-40 to allow for additional time for pre-launch ground system checks,’ SpaceX tweeted on Monday.
The resupply mission will bring nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station.
This includes barley seeds for experiments backed by Budweiser, to help determine the feasibility of brewing beer on Mars.
In a post shared on Instagram , the SpaceX CEO revealed the upcoming launch will fly both a previously used orbital rocket and spacecraft for the first time
SpaceX has pushed back the launch of what could be a historic resupply mission heading to the International Space Station this week, to allow more time for last minute tests. The mission will launch both a previously flown rocket and spacecraft for the first time
It’s been less than a year since SpaceX made history for sending its first recycled Falcon 9 rocket back into space.
In the time since, the firm has successfully completed two more flights using reused boosters, and even launched a recycled Dragon capsule to the International Space Station for the first time.
This week’s launch aims to take things a step further by combining the two for the first time.
In a post on Instagram last week, the SpaceX boss shared a series of images from the previous flights.
On Twitter, SpaceX revealed the launch will involve a flight-proven Falcon 9 first stage that launched during the eleventh resupply mission for NASA, and a Dragon that flew in the sixth cargo resupply
The Dragon capsule has been used to bring supplies to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Dragon is the only supply ship that is able to return items to Earth, as it’s built to withstand re-entry
The Dragon capsule has previously been used to bring supplies to the International Space Station.
SpaceX’s Dragon is the only supply ship that is able to return items to Earth, as it’s built to withstand re-entry.
The firm elaborated on Musk’s plans in a post on Twitter.
‘Rocket and spacecraft for CRS-13 are flight-proven,’ SpaceX tweeted.
‘Falcon 9’s first stage previously launched SpaceX’s eleventh resupply mission for @NASA, and Dragon flew to the @Space_Station in support of our sixth cargo resupply mission.’
Following the successful launch of the first reused rocket in March, Musk revealed he’d already set his eye on a far more ambitious goal – reflight within 24 hours.
The firm has carried out a number of flights this year, a handful of which involved flight proven rockets.
But, SpaceX has seen its fair share of mess-ups too.
In September, Musk shared a hilarious ‘blooper reel’ of SpaceX’s failed booster landings.
The video covers everything from exploding rockets and engine sensor failures to a sticky throttle valve.
THE REUSABLE ROCKET RACE
SpaceX made history in March when it achieved the first-ever reuse of an orbital-class booster, which CEO Elon Musk had deemed ‘a huge revolution for spaceflight.’
Reusable rockets would cut costs and waste in the space industry, which currently loses millions of dollars in jettisoned machinery after each launch.
Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency are developing similar technology and are in testing stages.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com and owner of The Washington Post newspaper, said in February that his private space firm Blue Origin expects to begin crewed test flights of the New Shepard, the company’s flagship rocket, next year and begin flying paying passengers as early as 2018.
The Indian space agency also hopes to develop its own frugal shuttle, as it seeks to cash in on a huge and lucrative demand from other countries to send up their satellites, after a successful test launch in February.
SpaceX posted the video on YouTube, with the title ‘How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster.’
The firm suffered a famously catastrophic explosion in September 2016 when a Falcon 9 exploded on the launch pad – taking with it Facebook’s $200 million internet satellite.
And in November, one of the company’s Merlin engines exploded during a ‘qualification test.’
Over the course of this year, however, the firm has seen a number of successes.
The firm has completed 16 launches in 2017 alone.