Monday, January 5, 2015
SpaceX and NASA are scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Tuesday to bring supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. It's the first such mission to the ISS since Orbital Sciences rocket blew up in Virginia Oct. 28. If all goes according to plan, the Dragon capsule will dock with the ISS later this week. SpaceX will use this mission to test a procedures to salvage and reuse rockets. This mission has an intriguing twist. After the Falcon 9's first stage is jettisoned, SpaceX will relight the booster rocket's engines for a series of burns, attempting to land it upright on a 300-foot by 170-foot bargelike vessel in the Atlantic Ocean, some 200 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla. The landing test has no impact on the resupply mission. (Source: Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, 01/04/15) Gulf Coast note: SpaceX plans to test its next generation engines at Stennis Space Center, Miss. SSC is also where the AJ-26 engines used in the failed October launch of an Orbital Sciences rocket were tested.