Falcon 9: SpaceX Delays NASA Cargo Launch of Reused Rocket, Again

12_12_SpaceX Dragon

Falcon 9: SpaceX Delays NASA Cargo Launch of Reused Rocket, Again

Liftoff from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad Friday is set for 10:35 a.m. EST (1535 GMT), roughly the moment Florida's Space Coast rotates under the space station's orbital plane.

Friday is SpaceX's last chance to launch to the ISS before a 10-day "beta angle cutout", or period of time when the station will see increased sunlight and less time in Earth's shadow, forces teams to wait until at least December 25.

SpaceX announced the latest delay in a tweet which said: "Now targeting December 13 for launch of CRS-13 from SLC-40 to allow for additional time for pre-launch ground systems checks".

SpaceX "requested additional time for prelaunch ground systems checks", according to that NASA blog and confirmed by a SpaceX tweet.

It is the second launch delay in two days - and third overall - for the SpaceX mission, which is called CRS-13.

Falcon 9: SpaceX Delays NASA Cargo Launch of Reused Rocket, Again

A catastrophic rocket explosion at pad 40 on September 1, 2016, left the launch complex unusable, and it took SpaceX more than a year to clean up, fix and upgrade the facility.

The company's Falcon 9 rocket will carry a Dragon capsule (also reused from a previous mission) packed with research materials, crew supplies, and hardware for the ISS.

This cargo flight is carrying almost 2,200 kg of cargo, supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station, where it is expected to arrive for berthing on Friday, December 15. The Dragon will remain attached to the ISS for a month before it returns to Earth.

The launch will be the 15th flight of a Dragon capsule, 14th mission to the ISS and the 13th with actual cargo. This mission's first-stage booster was first flown in June on a mission to the space station, and SpaceX will attempt to land it again on the company's landing pad at the Air Force station. Blue Origin has released few details about the launch, and the company might wait until after it takes place to provide more information. A period of constant sunlight in the space station's orbit, known as a high solar beta angle, will prevent the outpost from receiving the Dragon cargo craft. "We've put in a lot of provisions to protect the equipment", he said.

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