SpaceX with 6000 pound of re-supply mission launched to ISS


Dragon will be filled with more than 5,600 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur onboard the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft, riding on a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off at 1:16 p.m. EST at the Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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The Dragon cargo ship successfully made it to orbit, which was the primary goal of the launch.

European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst and NASA's Serena Aunon - who are already aboard the ISS - will use the space station's robotic arm to capture the Dragon when it arrives two days later. The booster, covered in black soot from its two prior flights, landed again on an ocean barge in the Pacific Ocean after launch, queuing up the rocket to fly for a fourth time.

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SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the booster appeared to be undamaged. It was the first time a rocket has been used for a third time.

The launch will be the 16th for SpaceX, as part of an ongoing contract with NASA to send supplies to the astronauts living at the space station.

Remarkably, the rocket stabilized and was able to land in water as opposed to crashing and possibly exploding on land.

SpaceX launched the holiday shipment Wednesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The Falcon 9's cargo featured 15 microsats and 49 cubesats from commercial and government entities, ranging from universities, to startups, to even a middle school.

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Today's launch was delayed by a day on short notice thanks to some moldy mouse chow.

"The first stage did land in the water", SpaceX spokesperson John Insprucker said during a live webcast.

After separating from the second stage, and firing its engines to return to Earth, a video camera on board showed the first stage spinning.

If all goes well, the spacecraft will reach the station around 6 a.m. Saturday morning, pulling up to within about 30 feet and then standing by while station commander Alexander Gerst, operating the lab's robot arm, locks onto a grapple fixture.

Astronaut Anne McClain, also from NASA, will monitor telemetry during the spacecraft's approach.

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