On Friday, SpaceX ignited the engines of a refurbished Falcon 9 rocket to resupply the International Space Station with approximately 6,000 pounds’ worth of fresh supplies and science experiments.
But it wasn’t just any Falcon 9 rocket; it was the company’s very last ‘Block 4’ rocket that was used to ferry NASA’s TESS satellite to space just two months ago. SpaceX is now transitioning to a new line of Falcon 9 rockets dubbed 'Block 5,’ which are allegedly cheaper and easier to remanufacture for forthcoming launches.
The launch, which took place just before the crack of dawn at Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, delivered a spectacular show. Nearing the end of its journey, the Falcon 9’s first stage left behind a jaw-dropping view that garnered innumerable photographs:
Image Credit: Michael Seeley/WeReportSpace
And as you might have guessed, SpaceX live-streamed the launch. Those who haven’t seen it yet can watch how it all went down on YouTube:
Given the antiquity of the rocket, SpaceX didn’t make any attempt to land it after it served its primary mission.
The 6,000 pounds of supplies that hitched a ride on this rocket encompassed necessities such as food, water, and oxygen, but also included science experiments to keep the ISS crew busy, such as genetically-identical lab mice and an AI robot named Cimon, among other things.
International Space Station crew members are expected to receive the supplies early Monday morning. Once there, the International Space Station’s robotic arm will facilitate the docking process and enable crew members to access the goods that are stored on the Dragon spacecraft.
After a month or so, the Dragon spacecraft will return to Earth with around 4,000 pounds’ worth of garbage.