Hawthorne-based SpaceX will attempt to launch a spacecraft Saturday carrying supplies to the International Space Station, its first launch attempt from Florida’s Cape Canaveral since one of its rockets exploded in September.
The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch at 7:01 a.m. California time Saturday. If needed, a backup launch time is set for 6:38 a.m. Sunday.
It will mark the first time a rocket has taken off from Cape Canaveral’s Launch complex 39A since 2011, when NASA ended the space shuttle program.
The launch complex was also used for the Apollo missions.
SpaceX, which has made a habit of recovering its Falcon 9 rockets for re- use in future missions, will attempt to land the rocket back on land at Cape Canaveral. The company has made two such on-land landings in the past, along with five successful rocket landings at sea. Recovering and re-using the rockets is seen as a major cost-savings for space operations.
The Falcon 9 rocket will propel a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. The spacecraft is expected to return to Earth March 21.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted on Twitter Friday that the company was investigating a “very small leak in the upper stage” of the rocket, but there was no immediate indication the launch was being delayed.
— City News Service