SpaceX launches supplies, Christmas gifts to Space Station from Cape Canaveral
Cargo Dragon on its way with 3 tons of experiments; booster sticks drone ship landing
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – If you don’t succeed, try again and SpaceX did just that Thursday launching three tons of supplies-- including Christmas presents-- to the International Space Station on the last resupply mission of the year.
The Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft blasted off at 12:29 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The first launch attempt was scrubbed Wednesday due to high winds at sea where the company lands its rocket boosters on a drone ship and also upper-level winds.
Stephen Alling, a space fan from Illinois, returned to Jetty Park Thursday hoping he would get to see his first rocket launch.
“I’ve seen other YouTube videos of people at different parks and enjoying it and hearing the crowds and I wanted to experience it,” Alling said.
The Falcon 9 took off on time Thursday with no weather or technical issues.
Corey Hill also came back for the second launch attempt. He said it was his first time seeing a rocket launch in person.
“Not only do you hear it, but you feel it and you feel a much closer connection with it, I think,” Hill said.
About 7 minutes after launch, the first-stage booster came back down landing on the drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You, waiting in the Atlantic Ocean off the Jacksonville coast. The landing was the company’s 46th booster recovery.
Jewell Brookshire said she is glad she got to see the rocket launch.
“It was wonderful. Beautiful. Perfect weather, nice crowd. Beautiful. Everything went off without a hitch,” Brookshire said.
The Dragon capsule contains three tons of supplies for NASA, including “mighty mice” for a muscle and bone study and barley for a Budweiser beer-malting experiment. NASA officials said some Christmas goodies for the astronauts living on the station are also packed into the Dragon capsule.
The cargo Dragon capsule now on its way to the space station has twice delivered supplies to the space station, according to SpaceX.
It was the first cargo Dragon to fly twice, SpaceX’s director of Dragon Mission Management Jessica Jensen said. The spacecraft will remain at the station for about one month before returning to Earth.
In two days, astronauts onboard the ISS will use the space station’s robotic CanadaArm to grab the spacecraft.
The mission is SpaceX’s 19th re-supply launch for NASA. SpaceX has been making supply runs for NASA since 2012. Northrop Grumman is NASA’s other private shipper.
Re-watch the launch alongside Jetty Park-goers below:
🚀 Launch facts
Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
Launchpad: Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch window: Dec. 5 at 12:29 p.m.
Payload: Cargo Dragon filled with supplies and experiments
Destination: International Space Station
Weather: 90% favorable launch conditions.
Booster landing: Drone ship landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
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