SpaceX is launching a new rocket to resupply the International Space Station on Friday, which will be carrying a reported 7,000 pounds of equipment and supplies for the astronauts on board the station.
This is a notable event, because although SpaceX has been launching satellites lately and then trying to land its new reusable rocket at sea afterwards, this is the first time since June of last year that SpaceX has been given the opportunity to resupply the International Space Station.
SpaceX will once again try to land its rocket at sea after the primary mission is completed, and of course, landing the rocket is not part of the primary mission. The company could really care less if the rocket fails to land again because they’re in the middle of testing the new technology and want to learn as much as they can about where to improve.
Blue Origin, on the other hand, just landed its New Shepard rocket for the third time this month, but that’s a story to be shared for another time.
After SpaceX’s rocket takes the spacecraft into orbit, where the International Space Station resides, the spacecraft will then attempt to dock with the International Space Station. After pressure valves are sealed, astronauts can then climb on board and begin taking what they need off of it, including equipment for science experiments, food, and more.
After the rocket completes its job, it’ll tumble back to Earth where booster rockets will attempt to stabilize its landing onto a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Although the last 4 attempts have been failures, company CEO Elon Musk says he’s pretty confident it should work out well this time.
SpaceX has not sent its first rocket back into space after it successfully landed, because it has sentimental value to the company. It successfully landed on solid ground, not a drone ship, after completing its mission. Should today’s rocket land successfully after completing its mission, it could very well be the first rocket to go back into space a second time after a successful landing.
To see the launch live, you can tune in via the YouTube stream below at 4:43 P.M. ET: