NASA and SpaceX successfully launch new rocket to ISS from US

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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NASA and SpaceX successfully launched a new prototype rocket and spacecraft to the International Space Station Friday afternoon in a mission that, if successful, will make history as the first of its kind.

Independent space transportation developer SpaceX designed the Falcon 9 rocket that successfully launched the company’s Dragon spacecraft toward the ISS unmanned carrying supplies to the ISS.

Both Falcon 9 and Dragon are built to be partially reusable, with the Falcon 9 specifically designed to be the first of its kind. After making its supply delivery, it will use a controlled fall to come back to Earth and land on the ground after deploying a set of extendable legs.

For its first test, the craft will still make a traditional water landing in the ocean — if the legs deploy successfully it will allow NASA and SpaceX to recover more of the vehicle for future rocket launches than ever before.

Falcon 9 and Dragon lifted off from Cape Canaveral after months of delays carrying 5,000 pounds of food and supplies for experiments to the six crew members currently living on the ISS.

The Dragon is expected to rendezvous with the ISS Sunday morning, and SpaceX tweeted the spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket, made orbit, and deployed its solar arrays shortly after launch.

Friday’s launch marks an important step toward a return to manned American spaceflight, as American astronauts have been forced to pay more than $70 million for rides to the ISS aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The mission’s success is especially important after NASA recently announced a suspension of all contact with Russia over its violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and annexation of Crimea.

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