SpaceX And NASA Delay Historic Reusable Rocket ISS Launch

Enlarge  The rocket launching Tuesday first flew

The crew of the International Space Station will have to wait for their dinner-again.

Tomorrow, December 12, SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft for a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

SpaceX has postponed the launch of its next cargo delivery mission for NASA by 24 hours to allow time for additional system checks; the company announced late Monday.

This will be the first mission to launch from Launch Complex 40 since a September 2016 explosion damaged the pad's structure, forcing the company to rebuild and modernize the complex.

CRS-13 and SLC-40 are codes for the mission name-Commercial Resupply Service-13-and the launch site-Space Launch Complex 40.

The Dragon CRS-13 capsule making this flight is the same capsule that flew as CRS-6, which launched to the ISS back on April 14, 2015.




However, after the accident investigation closed in February, SpaceX has not only repaired the 60-year-old pad, it has made significant improvements, said John Muratore, director of the launch complex.

That makes Wednesday's launch vehicle the most reused ever, according to CEO Elon Musk, who said last week on Instagram that his company would "attempt to re-fly both an orbital rocket and spacecraft for the first time". Not only could reusable rockets reduce the astronomical cost of building new spacecraft, but might help to limit the vast amount of space debris clogging the Earth's orbit.

Space junk is becoming such a hazard that NASA have developed a new, smart shield to help protect against the 23,000 hunks of debris flying around the planet. A large part of this waste is leftover satellites, rocket parts and other remains of human space tour.

For more on the science headed to the ISS, watch the NASA pre-launch science briefing at 3:30 p.m. ET on Monday. It has not yet confirmed whether this will go ahead in light of the delay. The launch was already delayed on December 5.

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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