Yesterday was supposed to mark a historic mission for SpaceX: The first re-launch of a reusable rocket to the International Space Station. That launch has now been delayed to tomorrow at 3:24AM AEDT at the earliest, according to a NASA blog.
This launch is historic, as we covered last week. SpaceX has previously re-used its Falcon 9 rocket as well as its Dragon spacecraft. Now they will be re-using both together. This would also mark the first time NASA has used a previously-flown rocket for a resupply mission.
On December 12, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, sending an uncrewed Dragon cargo capsule filled with supplies to the International Space Station. No big deal, except that two components, both the first stage rocket and the spacecraft, have already flown on previous missions. That's never happened before.Read more
SpaceX “requested additional time for prelaunch ground systems checks,” according to that NASA blog and confirmed by a SpaceX tweet. The launch was already delayed on December 5.
CEO Elon Musk hasn’t tweeted about the delay yet, and the company has not yet responded to a Gizmodo request for comment.
If successful, the mission would be an important entry into a new era of reusable rockets. Additionally, it would mark the first use of the company’s refurbished launch pad on the Cape Canaveral site after last year, when a Falcon 9 exploded, payload and all, reports Wired.
At present, the rocket is slated to arrive at the ISS on December 16. We’ll be back tomorrow to hopefully watch the next launch live.