SpaceX to launch recycled rocket, supply capsule for NASA

SpaceX The Privately Funded Aerospace Company Founded By Elon Musk

SpaceX plans to launch its first recycled rocket for NASA Friday morning.

The commercial resupply run launched Friday carries 4,861 pounds (2,205 kilograms) of supplies and experiments inside the Dragon capsule, divided between an aft-mounted external cargo bay and a pressurized module, which itself was refurbished following a round-trip flight to the space station in April and May 2015.

SpaceX also successfully recovered its Falcon 9 first stage booster again, with a controlled descent and landing at its Cape Canaveral-based LZ-1 landing facility in Florida.

Even though most spacecraft and launch vehicles are one-time use items, like, say, sanitary napkins, the history of re-using spacecraft goes back much further than many realize.

Falcon took off from the US Air Force's Cape Canaveral station in Florida at 10:36 local time, according to live footage from NASA's television.

By recycling this most expensive part of the launcher, the boss of SpaceX Elon Musk intends to reduce launch costs and ultimately make space travel more affordable.

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This morning's launch will carry almost 4,800 pounds of cargo to the ISS.

However, it was the first such effort for NASA, SpaceX's most important customer. Then the company delayed until Friday because it had detected "particles" in the fuel system of the rocket's second stage. Liftoff had been scheduled for Tuesday, then Wednesday.

Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations.

Friday's booster recovery was the 20th for the company. If successful, it'll mark the second time this rocket has landed after a flight and the 14th landing for SpaceX this year.

NASA officials said they will review the possibility of flying future space station cargo missions on reused rockets on a case-by-case basis.

SpaceX has two multibillion-dollar cargo delivery contracts with NASA for at least 26 logistics missions through 2024.

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