SpaceX successfully launched an oft-delayed Falcon 9 rocket mission at 6:35 p.m. EST (2335 GMT) Friday after more than a week of delays caused by issues with super-chilled liquid oxygen propellant, a boat the strayed into restricted waters offshore Cape Canaveral, and extreme upper level winds. The experimental recovery of the first stage on an ocean-going barge was not a success.
In one of the strongest public endorsements of SpaceX’s initiative to put a reusable launcher on the commercial market, a top official from satellite communications giant SES said Tuesday that the company wants to fly one of its pricey payloads on a used Falcon 9 rocket, perhaps even without a test flight.
SpaceX’s launch team in Cape Canaveral fueled a Falcon 9 rocket with super-chilled liquid propellants and briefly fired the first stage’s nine Merlin engines Monday in a customary preflight test ahead of Wednesday’s scheduled liftoff of a commercial television broadcasting satellite for the Asia-Pacific.
One of four landing legs mounted to the base of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster failed to engage on the rocket’s final descent to a barge in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, leaving wreckage scattered on the football field-sized deck of the landing ship after an otherwise successful launch with an ocean research satellite.