SpaceX successfully launches, lands Falcon 9 rocket
Saturday's launch marks 100th launch from KSC's launch pad 39A
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX successfully launched a supply mission to the International Space Station Saturday during its second attempt, after lightning and stormy weather caused launch officials to scrub Thursday's attempt.
Falcon 9 was set to launch at 5:07 p.m. with the Dragon spacecraft filled with 6,000 pounds of supplies destined for the orbiting space lab.
The same Dragon capsule made the same journey almost three years ago. After a few modifications and much testing, the spacecraft is packed again and ready for another trip.
The capsule is loaded with more than 250 science experiments, including one that will use fruit flies to study the effects of microgravity on the heart and another designed to study flame behavior in space conditions.
NASA’s first study of rapidly spinning neutron stars will catch a ride inside Dragon as well. The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, or NICER, will be attached outside the space station and observe the massive stars.
Weather was expected to be a problem Saturday. Air Force weather officials said Friday there is a 60 percent chance of "go" weather. Precipitation and cloud cover were listed as possible weather concerns for Saturday's instant launch window, according to the Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron.
NASA tweeted at 4:30 p.m. that weather conditions had improved to a 90 percent "go" for the targeted 5:07 p.m. launch.
Many people were at Spaceview Park in Titusville at 4:30 p.m. waiting for the launch and landing of the rocket.
SpaceX successfully completed a static fire test last weekend, also sparking a small wildfire at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
The launch will mark the 100th from historic Kennedy Space Center pad 39A, where Apollo 11 launched to the moon.
SpaceX also targeted another booster landing about 10 minutes after launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Landing Zone 1.
SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center at 5:07 p.m., marking the 100th launch from launch pad 39A.
Stage 1 of the rocket was successfully landed at 5:16 p.m., SpaceX said.
The Dragon spacecraft was said to be in good orbit at 5:19 p.m., according to SpaceX.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted a photo of the rocket to Instagram hours after the launch.
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