SpaceX rocket launches into orbit, booster returns to earth

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off from NASA Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A on CRS-10 cargo mission to ISS, February 19, 2017.

SpaceX's billionaire founder, Elon Musk, posted a zoomed-in view to Instagram.

Last-minute technical issues forced SpaceX on Saturday to delay its first-ever launch from NASA's historic station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Worth noting, this will be the first rocket to launch from Kennedy Space Center's LC39 since NASA officially wrapped up its space shuttle program in July 2011. It is also the first from the historic Launch Complex 39A, which was the starting point for numerous Apollo missions in the 1960s and '70s, including the first Saturn V launch on the unmanned Apollo 4 mission, the Apollo 8 mission that circled the Moon, and the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing. About 10 minutes after take-off, SpaceX fired the engines, anew, on the booster portion of the Falcon 9, separating the 15-story booster from the rocket.

The launch was initially planned for Saturday, but was canceled just 13 seconds before liftoff due to a glitch with the rocket engine.

The company will use Falcon Heavy or the upgraded Falcon 9 that has the capacity to carry heavy payload to place Dragon spacecraft on the space.

Musk said he's honored to use Launch Complex 39A.

The caution on the part of SpaceX makes sense, given the September 1 explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket that had multiple negative consequences (even if short-term) for the company. We have a drone video of the rocket landing, released by SpaceX.

SpaceX has since made one successful return to flight in January of this year, from Vandenberg Air Force base in California.

The Falcon remains at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A, waiting to soar on a space station delivery mission.

Following the launch, SpaceX plans to try landing the booster on solid ground at a different part of Cape Canaveral. It will do so until it gets near to the International Space Station. Space X expects to launch one of these recovered rockets as early as October to test whether they work as well the second time around.

NASA has high hopes that SpaceX, as well as Boeing, will be able to launch astronauts to and from the space station.

The Dragon cargo capsule is set to arrive at the space station on Wednesday.



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