SpaceX to launch, land at Cape Canaveral

12_12_spacex_launch_iss

Meanwhile, the company flew Falcon 9 missions nearby, at Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, which SpaceX uses for commercial launching, together with Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The SpaceX Dragon capsule for the mission was also used in a previous launch, CRS-6, while the Falcon 9 first stage came from CRS-11, both resupply missions to the ISS. The 45th Space Wing's most recent forecast for the planned 11:24 a.m. launch says there is an 80 percent chance of good weather, with high winds the only concern.

This will be the first mission to launch from Launch Complex 40 since a September 2016 explosion damaged the pad's structure, forcing the company to rebuild and modernize the complex. Blue Origin recently filed a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) with the FAA to clear airspace around their launch facility in West Texas this week "to provide a safe environment for rocket launch and recovery". The spacecraft won't launch before Friday, Dec. 13 as extra inspections need to be performed, and cleaning after engineers found particles located in the booster's second-stage fuel system.

Construction members made KSC's pad 39A, which SpaceX had already leased from NASA and altered from its space shuttle layout, to support Falcon 9 flights this year, then turned their attention to repairing and upgrading pad 40. The company has landed 19 Falcon 9 boosters as part of its ongoing reusable rocket program to reduce the cost of spaceflight.

The SpaceX Dragon is pictured docked to the International Space Station, August 18, 2017.

Space junk is becoming such a hazard that NASA has produced a new, smart guard to help defend against the 23,000 hunks of debris flying encompassing the planet.

For more on the science headed to the ISS, watch the NASA pre-launch science briefing at 3:30 p.m. ET on Monday. It has not still verified whether this will go forward in light of the delay. Late Tuesday, SpaceX pushed back the launch for the second day in a row, saying it needs to rid the second-stage fuel system of unwanted particles.

The Dragon holds almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, including a barley experiment for Budweiser.

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