SpaceX successfully launches recycled capsule to carry supplies to International Space Station

SpaceX successfully launches recycled capsule to carry supplies to International Space Station

SpaceX successfully launches recycled capsule to carry supplies to International Space Station

SpaceX is trying again to launch its first recycled supply ship to the International Space Station.

The launch was originally supposed to occur on Thursday, but those plans were aborted due to a lightning storm.

The start of the CRS-11 uncrewed station resupply mission on Saturday (June 3) marked the 100th launch from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in nearly 50 years. The spacecraft first launched on the SpX-4 mission in September 2014, returning to Earth a month later. But there won't always be such lengthy periods between flights; SpaceX aims to streamline the checkout and refurbishment process for used gear, eventually re-launching Falcon 9 first stages within 24 hours of touchdown. Now, SpaceX is in possession of 11 Falcon 9 rockets that have flown to space and back - either by landing on ground or on one of the company's drone ships at sea. US 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.

SpaceX does not publicly say how much the Dragon spacecraft is worth.

There is a U.S. law in place, known as the Wolf amendment, that bans cooperation between the USA space agency NASA and Chinese government entities, but this deal is purely commercial and therefore considered legal.

SpaceX CRS-11 was the 11th of up to 20 missions to the space station that the California-based company will fly for NASA. It is scheduled to arrive at the station on the morning of June 5.

Once secured, the crew will begin to unload the 1,700 kilograms of pressurized cargo, while an additional 1,600 kilograms of unpressurised material will be unpacked from Dragon's trunk using the station's robotic arm.

Saturday's launch had been set for earlier in the week, but was rescheduled because of weather concerns.

The reused Dragon is expected to reach the orbiting lab on Monday. Two people - cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Russian Federation and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency - recently left the station and returned to Earth on Friday.

Reusing a spacecraft also marks another huge step forward in SpaceX's efforts to bring down the cost of spaceflight.

It will study gene mutation, one of the biggest risks to astronauts working in space, as they are exposed to 10 times the radiation than on earth, he said.

The first-stage booster is the most expensive piece of the rocket, according to Musk, accounting for up to 60% of the rocket's $62 million sticker price. "SpaceX did a very thorough job in terms of certification of the Dragon and refurbing it, and NASA did a very thorough job of understanding that certification and making sure that it was safe to fly". Every dollar counts for SpaceX as they try to pay off the billion dollars they spent developing "flight-proven" technology. If SpaceX can follow through on their vision, the pad will one day be used to launch the first humans to Mars. This is the company's 11th mission under a NASA contract.

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