SpaceX Rocket Launch Has Been Postponed To Friday

Terry Joseph
December 14, 2017

It was set for 11:46 a.m. Tuesday from Space Launch Complex 40, which is the same pad where a Falcon 9 exploded previous year.

"SpaceX is taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to detection of particles in 2 stage fuel system", SpaceX wrote in a Twitter status update. The Falcon 9 booster rocket that will propel CRS-13 into orbit is the same booster that was used for the CRS-11 launch, back on June 3, 2017. The Dragon capsule made a space station shipment in 2015.

The mission which is now scheduled for Friday will mark SpaceX's return to launching from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after the 2016 explosion at a launch site. But it is not the first recycled rocket: NASA's space shuttle was the first reusable spacecraft, offering 135 missions and each time shedding only its fuel tank.

SpaceX's mission patch for the CRS-13 cargo mission.

SpaceX announced the latest delay in a tweet which said: "Now targeting December 13 for launch of CRS-13 from SLC-40 to allow for additional time for pre-launch ground systems checks". Additionally, much of the support equipment for launches has been moved underground.


A catastrophic rocket explosion at pad 40 on September 1, 2016, left the launch complex unusable, and it took SpaceX more than a year to clean up, fix and upgrade the facility. He shared a picture of the Dragon docked with the ISS in advance of the launch. Blue Origin has released few details about the launch, and the company might wait until after it takes place to provide more information. This mission will combine both, marking the first time SpaceX has used a "flight proven" booster for a NASA launch and combined it with a used Dragon spacecraft.

The Dragon holds almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, including a barley experiment for Budweiser.

Assuming the robotic cargo mission takes off Friday, the Dragon capsule should arrive at the space station Sunday.

Shireman said launch opportunities could open back up for SpaceX around December 25, but it's not clear if SpaceX or NASA would attempt to launch the mission on Christmas Day.

"We'll be anxious, but I wouldn't say a higher level of anxiety for this reflown booster than for a new booster", he said.

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