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SpaceX And NASA Delay Historic Reusable Rocket ISS Launch

SpaceX And NASA Delay Historic Reusable Rocket ISS Launch

SpaceX announced it will delay today's planned launch attempt of a Falcon 9 rocket on a mission to the International Space Station to Wednesday. Since then, crews have modernized the pad and improved its automation, turnaround abilities and infrastructure. The company does not have immediate plans to do so, but the new pad could support a launch cadence as high as one mission per week. However, more system checks mean that the SpaceX rocket launch must be postponed to Friday at 10:35 a.m. EST. This mission will mark the first launch at the pad since it was heavily damaged in a 2016 Falcon 9 explosion.

Teams were targeting 11:24 a.m. Wednesday for a liftoff from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with supplies, cargo and science experiments for the orbiting outpost. Blue Origin recently filed a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) with the FAA to clear airspace around their launch facility in West Texas this week "to provide a safe environment for rocket launch and recovery". SpaceX has flown a used Dragon cargo ship for NASA once before (during a June delivery mission) and has launched three used Falcon 9 boosters to date (all within this year).

Moving forward, SLC-40 will launch Falcon 9 missions, with a focus on increasing flight rates for commercial customers with reused boosters.

Not only could reusable rockets could reduce the astronomical cost of building new spacecraft, but might help to limit the huge amount of space debris clogging the Earth's orbit.

Space junk is becoming such a hazard that NASA has produced a new, smart guard to help defend against the 23,000 hunks of debris flying encompassing the planet. That launch has now been delayed to tomorrow at 3:24AM AEDT at the earliest, according to a NASA blog.

As the SpaceX Rocket launch has been postponed, this is the second launch delay in the last two days, and third generally for the SpaceX mission, called CRS-13.

This cargo flight is carrying almost 2,200 kg of cargo, supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station, where it is expected to arrive for berthing on Friday, December 15.

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