In what could be another major boost for the commercial Space vehicle manufacturing company, SpaceX has successfully launched its 3rd supply mission to the International Space station on April 18, at 3.25 PM (ET).
Although the launch was successful, this launch has been delayed 4 times, till this time, when it was finally launched to dock at the International Space Station. Scheduled to launch in January, the most recent failed attempt was on April 14, when the scheduled launch was terminated due to a leak in a helium valve in the stage separation pneumatic system.
Friday launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 results in a rendezvous with the space station on Sunday, April 20 and a grapple at 7:14 a.m.
More importantly, SpaceX is testing a reusable rocket technology with this launch. This technology, if successful, would save SpaceX millions of dollars for its next launches. The first stage, which is needed to be reused, is equipped with four landing legs. As soon as the first stage separates, it will be slowed down to splash inside an ocean, from where it will be recovered.
As per the news coming from SpaceX, the data upload from SpaceX’s tracking plane shows the first stage landing in Atlantic was good. Flight computers continued transmitting for 8 seconds after reaching the water and stopped when the booster went horizontal. Several boats enroute through heavy seas.
The dragon capsule, which is aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, is the only space station cargo craft capable of returning a significant amount of supplies back to Earth, including experiments.