After several attempts earlier, SpaceX on Saturday successfully launched a Dragon spacecraft for its 17th resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
“@SpaceX’s #Dragon spacecraft launched at 2:48am ET [12:18pm IST] on a mission to deliver more than 5,500 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the @Space_Station,” NASA said in a tweet about the May 4 launch.
Loaded with about 2,500kg of research, supplies and hardware for crew members living and working on the orbiting laboratory, the spacecraft launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to reach the ISS on May 6, NASA said.
The spacecraft will remain at the space station for about four weeks before returning to Earth with more than 1,900 kg of research and return cargo.
Kenny Todd, International Space Station Operations and Integration manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, explained during the postlaunch press conference that launch success far overshadowed fatigue with the early morning launch. “If you have to be up, I can’t think of a better reason than to see one of these launches — it was absolutely spectacular,” Todd said. “We’re really excited to get Dragon on board in a couple of days.”
This mission comes after the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule was destroyed during an engine test last month, possibly causing a drag on the company’s plan to bring astronauts into space this year.
On April 20, an anomaly occurred during a testing of the Crew Dragon’s abort engines at a landing zone of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, but the private space company had not clarified whether the capsule, launched successfully into space in an unmanned mission in March, was destroyed or not, until Thursday.