A week after a test-firing of SpaceX’s new crew capsule went awry, SpaceX successfully completed a hold-down firing of its next Falcon 9 launcher Saturday morning at Cape Canaveral in preparation for a predawn liftoff Wednesday carrying several tons of food, supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.
A $110 million NASA science instrument twice targeted for cancellation by the Trump administration is set for launch Tuesday inside the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule for delivery to the International Space Station, where it will spend three years charting changing carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere.
NASA and SpaceX officials have said little this week about the apparent explosion of a Crew Dragon capsule Saturday during a ground test at Cape Canaveral, and members of a safety advisory panel said Thursday they will be patient as investigators review high-speed imagery, telemetry data and wreckage to determine the cause of the accident.
SpaceX is likely to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket set for launch April 30 on a drone ship just off the coast of Cape Canaveral, not at the company’s onshore recovery site as originally planned, after a ground test of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule at the landing pad ended in an explosion Saturday.
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said Thursday that the company’s recovery fleet in the Atlantic Ocean recovered the two halves of the Falcon Heavy’s payload shroud after the heavy-lifter’s second launch from the Kennedy Space Center. Musk said the company plans to reuse the fairing for the first time later this year.