This morning, shortly before 5am, SpaceX finally launched a Falcon 9 rocket (after a few scrubbed attempts) carrying an unmanned Dragon on its fifth official resupply mission to the International Space Station (CRS-5). The Falcon 9 lit up the early morning sky, and was visible to a large part of the East Coast before it separated from the rest of the craft and began its controlled descent back to Earth, making an historic, albeit “interesting,” landing on a drone-piloted barge in the Atlantic Ocean.
Viewers around the world (including this East Coast writer, who set his alarm to wake him in time for spacex.com‘s 4:30am live web coverage and watched the 4:47am launch still clad in his pajamas) watched online as the Falcon 9 broke atmo and the Dragon capsule achieved Low Earth Orbit and deployed her solar arrays. Dragon will now rendezvous with the ISS at 6:12am on Monday, January 12.
The launch of SpaceX’s 5th official resupply mission to the International Space Station, including an historic attempt to recover the Falcon 9 booster rocket on an automated barge in the Atlantic Ocean, is now targeted for Saturday, January 10 at 4:47am EST.
Live coverage of Saturday’s CRS-5 launch begins at 4:30am EST at http://www.spacex.com. The latest reports show that the weather is currently 80% GO for launch.
In many parts of the world, people ring in the New Year with fireworks. Here in the US though, we tend to prefer watching a glass ball drop (more like slowly descend) in the middle of town while stockpiling our big fireworks displays for the Fourth of July. Personally, I’ve never understood why. I’ve always thought the whole “ball drop” thing would be a lot more exciting if they just cut the cord at midnight and let the whole gorram thing come crashing down to the pavement below!
If, like me, you found that New Year’s ball-drop to be unrewarding and still want to kick off the year with a really spectacular display, SpaceX has just the thing to scratch that itch. Tomorrow morning a Falcon 9 will blast off from Kennedy Space Center at 6:20am EST, carrying an unmanned Dragon capsule into orbit for SpaceX’s fifth resupply mission (CRS-5) to the International Space Station. And as if that weren’t exciting enough, the Falcon 9 carrying the Dragon craft will re-ignite its engines as it falls back to Earth, deploy specially designed legs, and conduct the first landing and recovery of a heavy-lift vehicle on an oceanic platform atop a drone-piloted barge ship in the Atlantic Ocean!
And hey, there will even be a countdown…