Thursday, 23 November, 2017

SpaceX tries again to launch 1st recycled supply ship

Getty Images Getty Images
Mike Hodges | 04 June, 2017, 07:49

Liftoff took place at 5:07 p.m. EDT (21:07 GMT) on June 3, 2017, from historic Launch Complex 39A, the same pad that most of NASA's Space Shuttles, as well as almost every Saturn V rockets, launched from.

A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft in orbit.

The first-stage booster flown Saturday afternoon was brand new, and as is now the custom, returned to Cape Canaveral following liftoff for a successful vertical touchdown. In fact, CRS-11 Dragon was the 100th flight to take to the skies from this location.

As Cygnus departs, Dragon will close in on the station for its capture by Fischer and Whitson Monday, June 5. (2,700 kilograms) of supplies and science experiments to the Expedition 52 crew.

SpaceX's Hans Koenigsmann said at a press conference Wednesday that the company is looking to make back some of the money it has poured into technology development. The craft previously traveled to the International Space Station in 2014. Reuse of the Dragon, along with reuse of its Falcon 9 rockets, is key to SpaceX's long-term profitability.

Elon Musk's SpaceX for the first time launched a refurbished cargo capsule that had been used on a previous mission, a major stride toward eventually reusing spacecraft carrying astronauts. In addition to the NASA space shuttle orbiters and the U.S. Air Force X-37B orbital test vehicles, a Soviet VA spacecraft and a NASA Gemini capsule were flown twice.

SpaceX has launched its first recycled cargo ship to the International Space Station. "By landing right at the Cape, we can more quickly step into post flight inspections and refurbishments", Lyons said. The payload fairing protects the spacecraft from atmospheric pressure and heat. "But I can tell you the majority of this Dragon has been in space before and has been docked to the station for a couple of weeks".

If all goes well, it should mark the first space station rendezvous for a reused spaceship since the retirement of NASA's space shuttle fleet in 2011. "The idea of reuse is important for economic reasons as well as technical reasons". USA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer are expected to receive the craft using the International Space Station's robotic arm at 10 a.m. EDT Monday. The space station has continuously been occupied since November 2000.

Two of the space station's five residents, meanwhile, are scheduled to return to Earth on Friday via a Russian Soyuz capsule.

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