A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft in orbit. Courtesy SpaceX

Hawthorne-based SpaceX officials were celebrating Sunday after they launched a supply mission to the International Space Station, the first time the company has sent the same spaceship to the stellar outpost.

The launch of the Dragon spacecraft had been scheduled for Thursday, but lightning near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida forced mission controllers to cancel the liftoff. They had to wait for Saturday to make the successful launch.

The company has already revolutionized the spaceflight industry by recovering the first stage of its Falcon 9 rockets multiple times for re-use. The company successfully re-used one of them during a March flight.

Saturday’s launch marks the first time SpaceX has re-used one of its Dragon spacecraft, albeit a heavily refurbished one. The craft previously traveled to the International Space Station in 2014.

“Dragon is on its way to the International Space Station,” SpaceX tweeted at 2:30 Pacific Time.

The mission, dubbed CRS-11, will carry nearly 6,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, according to SpaceX.

Among the cargo is a collection of 40 rodents being sent into space as part of a UCLA-led test of an experimental bone-building drug that could lead to a treatment for osteoporosis.

—City News Service

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