SpaceX launches cargo to space station using recycled rocket, spaceship

2018-04-03 20:05
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on its 14th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. (John Raoux, AP)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on its 14th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. (John Raoux, AP)

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Tampa – SpaceX blasted off a load of supplies on Monday for the International Space Station aboard a rocket and a cargo ship that have both flown before, marking the second such flight for the California-based company.

"Falcon 9 is on its way," a SpaceX commentator said as the white rocket surged skyward over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 16:30 (20:30 GMT).

SpaceX's Jessica Jensen, director of Dragon mission management, said the booster had previously launched in August 2017, and the Dragon flew to the space station in April 2016.

SpaceX's first such double-recycle resupply mission for NASA flew to the orbiting outpost in December 2017.

The effort is part of SpaceX's mission to lower the cost of space flight by re-using costly, multimillion-dollar components that typically have been discarded into the ocean after each launch.

"What is really neat about this is it is becoming the norm," Jensen said.

Monday's trip marked SpaceX's 14th resupply mission for NASA under a $1.6bn contract that aims to guarantee much-needed supplies and equipment to the astronauts living in orbit.

The capsule is packed with about 2 600kg of food and science experiments, including one to study thunderstorms and another to test drug development in space.

The cargo ship is scheduled to latch onto the space station early on Wednesday, and will stay in orbit for about a month before returning to Earth.

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