SpaceX on Sunday launched the first private rocket from NASA’s historic launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA closely monitored the activities in order to learn more about SpaceX. The California-based company aims to fly US astronauts on their rockets.
The 70-meter tall Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. This same pad was used to launch rockets in Apollo moon missions. In 1969, this site was used to sent first humans to the moon in Apollo 11 mission. The rocket soared off at 9:39 am EST (8:09 pm IST) toward the International Space Station with a Dragon cargo ship stacked with supplies for the station.
Nine minutes after liftoff, the first stage of the rocket came back down to ground as planned. It landed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station a few miles from the launch site. It was the eighth successful touchdown for SpaceX.
“Baby came back”, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX tweeted after the successful touchdown of the first stage.
Baby came back https://t.co/5FRhw3AT2b
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 19, 2017
About two and a half minutes into the launch the first and the second stage of Falcon 9 separated. The first stage came back for its touchdown as the second stage continued boosting the shipment towards the orbit. About eleven minutes after liftoff the capsule got there successfully and started a two-day journey to the station.
The first attempt of launching the rocket was scrubbed on Saturday just 13 seconds before the liftoff due to some anomaly found in steering system in the rocket’s upper stage.
It was “99% likely to be fine,” Elon Musk had tweeted on Saturday, “but that 1% chance isn’t worth rolling the dice. Better to wait a day.” And so they did.
Btw, 99% likely to be fine (closed loop TVC wd overcome error), but that 1% chance isn’t worth rolling the dice. Better to wait a day.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 18, 2017
SpaceX aims to reuse the rockets in order to cut down costs. And it is also looking forward to getting its prime launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station which was heavily damaged in an explosion during a liftoff last September, functioning again soon.