Get ready for another historic SpaceX rocket landing attempt scheduled for Monday, April 13.
This will be the second time that SpaceX will try to land a massive, 140-foot-tall first stage Falcon 9 rocket onto a platform that’s floating offshore in the Atlantic ocean. (The first landing attempt took place last January and ended with a fiery explosion.)
If the landing attempt is successful, then SpaceX will have proven that a future of affordable, commercial spaceflight is possible. Key to that future is reusable rockets, that can be launched and relaunched, eventually within the same day.
Monday’s landing attempt is a very big step in that direction.
The landing attempt will immediately follow a SpaceX launch, scheduled for lift off out of Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at exactly 4:33 pm ET on Monday, April 13.
If unsavoury weather conditions or another disturbance prevents the rocket from taking off at exactly 4:33 pm, then SpaceX and NASA will scrub the launch for the next day on Tuesday, April 13 at 4:10 pm.
Attached to the Falcon 9 rocket is a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft will ferry 4,300 pounds of supplies to the astronauts floating aboard the International Space Station. These supplies include water, food, and important materials to support the more than 250 science experiments that NASA’s one-year-mission astronauts will complete during their extremely long stay in space.
After the Dragon spacecraft separates from its Falcon 9 rocket, it will complete a number of complex orbital maneuvers to eventually dock with the ISS on Wednesday, April 15.
As Dragon makes its way to the ISS, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket will fall back to Earth, and if everything goes according to plan, will use GPS tracking to guide its way to the floating SpaceX drone ship and softly touch down.
Five years ago, a landing attempt like this was unheard of.
But SpaceX is paving the way for a new era of reusable rockets. The company, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, has gone to great lengths to build the foundations for a future of cheap space travel.
So far, SpaceX has never recovered a rocket for reuse. But if Monday’s attempt is a success, it would be a game changer.
NASA TV will be streaming the launch live starting at 3:30 p.m. ET on Monday. The live stream is provided below.
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