SpaceX’s rocket successfully launched on Friday, the beginning of its journey up to the International Space Station and at the same time, the company tested out their new rocket recovery system.
Despite cloudy weather, the launch went ahead and the Dragon cargo capsule was sent into space. This is the third cargo delivery SpaceX has done for NASA under their current contract, reports NBC News. The rocket is carrying almost 5,000 pounds of equipment, such as legs for a space robot and supplies needed for experiments.
The successful launch likely allowed NASA and SpaceX to let out a sigh of relief after several delays to the mission. The launch has been delayed by six months as issues like a helium leak, radar outage and potential contamination problem plagued the mission.
Another potential delay, on the ISS’ end, also nearly delayed the launch, but instead will be handled when the rocket makes it up to the space station. The backup computer, a modulator-demodulator, has been nonfunctional and will require a spacewalk to fix. The main computer remains working, though.
Another part of the Friday launch was an attempt at recovering the first stage booster, reports Florida Today. After disconnecting from the rest of the rocket, the booster is supposed to go through two re-entry and landing burns and splash down into the ocean, where it would be recovered.
SpaceX hopes to recover the booster undamaged as they look into producing a reusable booster to make spaceflight a little cheaper.
Because of rough seas, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk doesn’t really believe it will have worked. “I wouldn’t give high odds that the rocket was able to splash down successfully.