Florida, February 20: On Sunday SpaceX launched Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Centre’s Launch Complex 39A. The rocket was carrying a load of supplies for the International Space Station. This was the first SpaceX mission to take off from the moon's hot pad 39 where most of the Apollo missions began. Astronauts like Neil Armstrong flew to the moon from this spot nearly a half-century ago.
Falcon 9 rocket was carrying a Dragon supply ship which was containing food and other goods which weighs around 5,500 pounds for the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station ISS.
During this legendary launch the Falcon 9 rocket took flight with a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station. Within few seconds SpaceX successfully flew itself back to a perfect touchdown at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX employees at headquarters in Southern California cheered as the booster landed upright at its designated parking spot at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX chief Elon Musk celebrated the successful touchdown via Twitter. "Baby came back," he tweeted.
The Dragon cargo ship will reach the space station on Wednesday delivering 5,500 pounds of food, clothes and experiment. Most of the Dragon’s cargo consists of scientific experiments, including the SAGE III apparatus that will be mounted on the station’s exterior to study Earth’s atmosphere from above. Over the course of about a month, the crew will unload the capsule and then fill it back up with payloads for return to Earth. SpaceX plans to launch crews to the space station from Pad 39A in future.
Elon Musk said that he's honored to use Launch Complex 39A. The company hopes to launch astronauts from this very spot next year, bringing U.S. crew launches back to home soil after a longer-than-intended hiatus. SpaceX Mars missions, first robots then people, could follow from here. If the pad weathered Sunday's launch well, another Falcon could be standing there for a satellite send-up in just two weeks.
Kennedy Space Center's director Robert Cabana was thrilled to see this happening and he said that it’s just really an exciting time.
On Saturday SpaceX mission was aborted due to technical reasons at last minute when lift-off of rocket Falcon 9 was about to take on Saturday morning. The last time SpaceX had a rocket ready to fly from Cape Canaveral which blew up on a neighboring pad during prelaunch testing on Sept. 1. Although the company successfully returned to flight last month from California, this damaged pad is expected to be brought back in action this year later.
Apollo’s Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins left Earth from Launch Complex 39 on July 16,1969 during the first moon landing mission. The very first space shuttle pilots, John Young and Robert Crippen, soared from here on April 12, 1981. And in a grand shuttle finale, Atlantis took off from here on July 8, 2011.