SpaceX launches rocket from Nasa’s historic moon padArchive
CAPE CANAVERAL: A SpaceX rocket soared from Nasa’s long-idled moonshot pad on Sunday, sending up space station supplies from the exact spot where astronauts embarked on the lunar landings nearly a half-century ago.
It was the first flight from Nasa’s legendary Launch Complex 39A since the shuttle program ended almost six years ago, and SpaceX’s first liftoff from Florida since a rocket explosion last summer.
The crowds at Kennedy Space Centre watched eagerly as the unmanned Falcon 9 rocket took flight with a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station. They got barely 10 seconds of viewing before clouds swallowed up the Falcon as it thundered skyward.
As an extra special treat, SpaceX landed its leftover booster back at Cape Canaveral several minutes after liftoff, a feat accomplished only twice before. Most of the company’s booster landings rocket recycling at its finest have used ocean platforms. As they did during the shuttle era, sonic booms heralded the booster’s return.
Flight controllers at SpaceX headquarters in Southern California cheered as the 15-story booster landed upright at its designated parking spot at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk celebrated the successful touchdown via Twitter.
“Baby came back,” he tweeted.
The celebratory roar grew when the Dragon cargo ship successfully reached orbit a few minutes later. It will reach the space station Wednesday, delivering 5,500 pounds of food, clothes and experiments.
Published in Dawn, February 20th , 2017