SpaceX took one more step in its campaign for rocket reusability today by sending a previously flown Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station for the first time.
If all goes well, it should mark the first space station rendezvous for a reused spaceship since the retirement of NASA’s space shuttle fleet in 2011.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 5:07 p.m. ET (2:07 p.m. PT) from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. An earlier countdown on Thursday had to be called off when a lightning storm struck too close to the launch pad.
It was the 100th launch from Pad 39A, which has been the starting point for space journeys going back to the Apollo moon shots.
Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of mission assurance, said that he was “super-happy, as always, after a good launch” – and that it felt great to be a part of Pad 39A’s 100th launch.