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SpaceX Successfully Launches Payload for ISS Resupply Mission

by Brandon Russell | April 18, 2014April 18, 2014 3:00 pm PST

SpaceX launch

After running into engineering-related delays, SpaceX on Friday successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket. It took ten minutes for the spacecraft to deploy the Dragon capsule that will dock with the International Space Station (ISS) for a resupply mission. The payload contains about 5,000 pounds worth of supplies ranging from common equipment, to legs for a space robot. This is SpaceX’s third cargo delivery—twelve are scheduled in a $1.6 billion contract agreement with NASA.

As part of today’s delivery, SpaceX also used the launch to test a new landing system that could see future Falcon rockets return to a specific area on Earth autonomously. That would allow SpaceX to better reuse components for future missions, which is a huge part of the company’s strategy—a successful autonomous system could also lead to better-equipped missions to Mars.

SpaceX’s Dragon is expected to arrive at the ISS this Sunday, where the station will then use a robotic arm to grab the capsule before docking. Unrelated to the resupply mission, NASA has a spacewalk planned for next Wednesday in the hopes of replacing a backup computer, which failed on the station’s exterior last week.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.