Photo Courtesy of NASA
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida - The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket defied weather odds and launched Sunday night from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. About 10 minutes after launch, the Dragon spacecraft was successfully deployed after the rocket reached orbit.
The 8:35 EDT launch is the first of at least 12 commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station that SpaceX will fly under its Cargo Resupply Services contract with NASA.
While the weather had been an issue, the forecast changed to 80% “Go” about 2.5 hours before launch.
At approximately 15 minutes after launch, NASA confirmed deployment of the Dragon spacecraft's solar array. The Dragon will mate with the ISS after an approximate 50 hour journey.
Dragon is filled with almost “1,000 pounds of supplies, including critical materials to support 166 investigations planned for the station’s Expedition 33 crew, of which 63 will be new,” according to NASA.
“Dragon will return with about 734 pounds of scientific materials, including results from human research, biotechnology, materials and education experiments, as well as about 500 pounds of space station hardware.”
Earlier in the day, the rocket roll out and vertical elevation was delayed by weather and a payload adjustment. However, the launch was not affected.
As well, a potential International Space Station move on Monday due to space debris will not alter the Dragon docking schedule, according to Mike Suffredini, ISS program manager.