SpaceX launches Dragon to deliver climate probe

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket rises from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (NASA Photo)

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket sent a robotic Dragon cargo capsule on the first leg of its trip to the International Space Station, loaded up with more than two tons of supplies — including NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 and scores of other science experiments.

Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida came exactly when it had to, at 2:48 a.m. ET May 4 (11:48 p.m. PT May 3).

The previous night’s launch attempt had to be called off due to power problems on SpaceX’s drone landing ship in the Atlantic Ocean. No such problems cropped up tonight, and the first-stage booster made a pinpoint landing at sea.

SpaceX’s cargo-carrying Dragon, meanwhile, was successfully delivered to orbit by the Falcon 9’s second stage.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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