SpaceX supply ship to the International Space Station, Dragon, has finally blasted from Cape Canaveral aboard a Falcon 9 rocket booster. The cargo ship carries some mice, an experimental 3D printer, a hurricane research instrument and crew provisions. It will make rendezvous with the space in about two days time.
The Dragon supply ship blasted off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket booster with a thunderous boom and a fiery streak which lighted the night sky over Cape Canaveral on Sunday. The Dragon launch was running a day behind schedule as the weather over Cape Canaveral was overcast and inundated with rain showers early Saturday.
However the clouds cleared later and the setting was perfect for the Falcon 9 rocket to propel the Dragon spacecraft to its final destination.
The Falcon 9 is a brute of a rocket with nine engine first stage generating 1.3 million pounds of thrust. The rocket soared into the sky with an orange tail and disappeared from view.
The first stage burned for three minutes before separation and after a series of maneuvers headed for a controlled splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. The maneuvers were a part of a technical experiment which made the SpaceX rockets reusable. SpaceX had attempted the flyback maneuvers three times in the past launches. However the latest launch was done without the legs and the experts have predicted a low probability of the maneuvers being successful.
Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of mission assurance and launch chief engineer sums up the launch, “Nothing like a good launch. It’s just fantastic. We worked very hard yesterday and weather wasn’t quite playing along and today everything was beautiful. From what I can tell, at first glance, everything was really perfect.”