by Chris Tobias
This past weekend SpaceX successfully launched its third resupply mission to the International Space Station. On April 18 the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off into the grey, afternoon sky of South Florida, carrying the Dragon capsule out of the world and into the black, where she rendezvoused with the ISS early on Easter morning, April 20. Today the crew of the ISS will be busy unloading the Dragon’s cargo. She will remain berthed at the space station for about a month, and is scheduled to return to Earth on May 18.
This mission is also significant because it was SpaceX’s debut of the new “legs” on the Falcon 9 booster rocket, which allowed the first stage of the rocket to stabilize its descent and return intact through the atmosphere to splash down in one piece. This opens the door to the possible reuse of the Falcon 9, and will eventually lead to the first truly reusable American spacecraft since the Space Shuttle.
We at Take Back the Sky congratulate the men and women of SpaceX and NASA on this spectacular achievement. We look forward to the day, hopefully within the next two years, when a ship just like this one will launch on a similar mission with American astronauts on board– a ship we hope will bear the name Serenity…