Following multiple setbacks, finally SpaceX has launched the mission to supply the ISS again.
A Falcon9, carrying a Dragon1 spacecraft with no crew, instead full of cargo, has taken off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Saturday around 3am ET.
This kind of a mission is usually routine for SpaceX, but this latest launch, initially dated to take place earlier in the week, was cursed by irregular obstacles on its way to the Launchpad, not excluding an uncommon electrical fault on board the station.
Once the team at International Space Station resolved, what they thought were all its issues, they rescheduled the launch of SpaceX for Friday morning. But then they were struck with the electrical issues with SpaceX. Droneships are a marine platform used for landing rocket boosters so that they are reused after flight, saving SpaceX some money. Through Twitter, the company said its droneship had faced some electrical faults, forcing it to delay the launch by 24 hours. After lifting off, the 1st-stage booster detached itself from the 2nd stage rocket and directed itself in an upright position for landing onto a droneship.
The spacecraft, expected to dock at the ISS by Sunday, is presently maneuvering in space detached from the rocket, on its own.
For SpaceX, this constitutes as the 17th mission for NASA, of this kind. The capsule in Dragon1 carries with it luggage weighing 5500 pounds, which include hardware to map CO2 levels in our planet’s atmosphere, equipment which could aid in communicating with exploration probes used in deep space, as well as a range of scientific experiments.
One of the reasons SpaceX couldn’t launch its mission earlier in the week was due to a failure of ISS hardware, leaving the station at only 75% power. NASA advised against launching SpaceX’s cargo mission till power was fully restored. Another problem they had to tackle was deciding where they should land the 1st stage booster. The ground pad intended for the landing was off commission since another spacecraft of SpaceX used and destroyed it last month. The droneship then became a convenient option as backup.