SpaceX is once again ramping up for a Falcon 9 rocket launch this week. The rocket will resupply the International Space Station with more than 4,800 pounds worth of fresh food and supplies to keep the astronauts fed and sustain the clockwork-like movements of scientific research.
[Update] SpaceX has delayed this launch until at least Friday, when weather conditions should be better.
Image Credit: SpaceX
The Falcon 9 rocket will take off from the launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday, December 13th at around 11:24 A.M. Eastern time. Originally slated to take off today (Tuesday), SpaceX requested a day’s worth of delay so they could perform preliminary tests.
Assuming weather permits tomorrow, there shouldn’t be any further delays in the launch. There’s about an 80% chance of fair weather, although it’s a bit blustery in Florida. That said, there are some slight concerns about whether the launch could see more delays or not.
Furthermore, SpaceX will land the spent rocket booster upright at Cape Canaveral’s Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) pad afterward so that the commercial space company can collect and refurbish the rocket for use once more.
As for the Dragon capsule, that will stay coupled with the International Space Station for a little while. Once the capsule serves its purpose, astronauts onboard the International Space Station will send it back to Earth where SpaceX can collect and refurbish it yet again, just like the rocket.
Excitingly, this will be the first time SpaceX launches a refurbished Falcon 9 rocket coupled with a refurbished Dragon cargo capsule. The commercial space company has used one or the other previously, but never in tandem with one another to perform a full mission for NASA.
As SpaceX gets closer to realizing its dream of fully-refurbished space missions, the price for space travel drops for SpaceX, as it costs much less to fix up and refuel a used rocket than it does to build an entirely new one. One might call it the perfect space travel business model.
SpaceX will live-stream the launch as they always do. If you would like to watch during the expected launch date and time, you can view the embedded YouTube clip below:
It should be interesting to see if SpaceX’s totally-refurbished launch will go as planned.