SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully lifted off on Sunday following an unsuccessful attempt on Saturday. This launch marks a historic note, sending supplies to the ISS from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A), the same complex that launched the Apollo missions landing man on the moon.
[Image Source: NASA via Twitter]
Saturday’s unsuccessful launch was scrubbed due to a vector control failure just 13 seconds before liftoff. Most notably in the Dragon cargo vessel on board were 2494 kg of cargo to resupply the international space station and a deadly superbug. This deadly superbug will be part of an experiment conducted by the crew of the ISS to see how it mutates in the low gravity environment.
— NASA (@NASA) February 19, 2017
This launch marks the midway point of the 20 resupply missions that SpaceX has planned for the ISS. The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket also successfully touched back down on the pad following the delivery of the payload into orbit. After the payload is delivered, the second stage will also return to Earth to be used again. Upon successful touchdown, Elon Musk posted the following picture with the perfect caption of “Baby came back.”
The deadly superbug that was sent to the ISS on this launch will be received by 2 astronauts via robotic arm. The bug is responsible for “killing more Americans every year than HIV/AIDS, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease, and homicide combined,” according to RT.
Solar panels on the Dragon spacecraft also successfully deployed after launch to power the vehicle while in transit to the ISS. If everything goes according to plan, the payload will dock with the ISS on early Wednesday.