Video credit: NASA TV Flying with a reused first stage and a recycled Dragon supply ship, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Friday bound for the International Space Station on an unpiloted cargo delivery mission. The 213-foot-tall (65-meter) Falcon 9 rocket launched from Complex 40 at 10:36 a.m. EST (1536 GMT) Friday. It was the first launch from the rebuilt facility since a Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the pad in September 2016, forcing SpaceX to relocate its Florida flights to nearby pad 39A. The Falcon 9’s first stage fired for nearly two-and-a-half minutes, propelling the Dragon cargo carrier toward orbit before making a pinpoint descent back to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station a few miles from pad 40. Friday’s mission marked the 45th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket, and the fourth with a reused first stage. The landing was the 20th time SpaceX has recovered one of its Falcon 9 boosters intact. Email the author. Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.
Outgoing space station commander Randy Bresnik, joined by Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy and European Space Agency flight engineer Paolo Nespoli, returned to Earth early Thursday after nearly five months in orbit. Their Soyuz MS-05 capsule undocked from the International Space Station at 12:14 a.m. EST (0514 GMT), and landed on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 3:37 a.m. EST (0837 GMT).
After a 22-day stay at the International Space Station, an Orbital ATK Cygnus supply ship is set for departure Wednesday en route to a higher orbit for release of 14 CubeSats for commercial weather monitoring and technology demonstrations. The robotic Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled for release from the station’s robotic arm at 8:10 a.m. EST (1310 GMT) Wednesday.
Staging NASA’s third spacewalk in 15 days, two astronauts floated outside the International Space Station Friday and installed a new high definition camera, replaced a degraded camera on a recently attached robot arm grapple fixture, finished lubricating the mechanism and carried out a variety of other “get-ahead” tasks.