SpaceX Launches Another Used Falcon 9 Rocket to International Space Station

SpaceX launched one of its Falcon 9 rockets into orbit on an unusual mission to the International Space Station (ISS) for Nasa last night. SpaceX has launched 14 cargo missions to the station and partner Orbital ATK has launched seven. But with possible showers in the forecast, a contingency plan has the mission launching on Tuesday, when there is less chance of rain.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is traveling toward the International Space Station on April 2, 2018.

SpaceX has launched another bunch of satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket created to beam high-speed Internet signals down to Earth.

Still, the intent alone demonstrated that SpaceX believed it could potentially land a Falcon 9 first stage despite the considerable mass of the satellite, effectively a 15% capability upgrade that would allow SpaceX to recover boosters after all but a tiny proportion.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Norishige Kanai and NASA's Scott Tingle will use the space station's robotic arm to capture Dragon after its scheduled arrival at the station on Wednesday. It will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, with about 3,900 lbs. The degree of this impact, and bone marrow's capacity to recoup when back on Earth, is important to space scientists and medicinal services suppliers alike.

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The Dragon is scheduled to berth with the station early April 4 and remain at the station for a month.

Stuffed with science About half of the cargo inside the Dragon will support 50 of the 250 science experiments that the Expedition 55 crew are conducting aboard the ISS.

This flight will deliver scientific investigations including a study on severe thunderstorms on Earth, on the effects of microgravity on production of high-performance products from metal powders, and food growth in space. But those satellites can't provide enough coverage, which is why SpaceX wants to launch thousands of them.

The capsule will be transporting NASA's old Robonaut 2, a humanoid robot in need of repairs, which the space agency hopes to fix before relaunching back to the station. Test your SpaceX know-how here.

  • Douglas Reid