SpaceX to Launch from NASA's Historic Launch Pad on Feb. 18
SpaceX is about to launch a rocket from one of NASA's historic launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center. Elon Musk's commercial spaceflight company is eyeing Feb. 18 for the launch of their reusable rocket, the Falcon 9.
The launch pad that SpaceX will use located at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was the same place where Apollo 11, the spacecraft that sent the first humans to the moon and the first space shuttle flight, took place. SpaceX now leases the same launch pad called Complex 39A since Nov. 2016.
Interestingly, the Feb. 18 launch is for the completion of SpaceX' 10th cargo mission carrying a payload of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX ferries goods to the ISS on a regular basis and, at the same time, helps NASA transport vital science from the ISS to the ground with the use of SpaceX reusable rockets. However, there are reports that SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rockets will be retiring soon.
For the cargo mission, the rocket will deliver goods to the ISS including materials needed to conduct the new muscle cell experiment in space, according to Space.com. Aside from that, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will also carry a monitoring system to study the movement of a "superbug" in space.
The payload is approximately 5,500 lbs (2,500 kg) and the spacecraft will also carry about 5,000 lbs (2,300 kg) back to Earth. In order to launch the Falcon 9 rocket from Complex 39A, SpaceX modified some specifications of the launch pad to suit their needs. After some careful planning and alterations, the company finally announced that they are ready for the much-anticipated launch.
If the launch will push through, it will also be the first time SpaceX will launch from Florida since the "anomaly" last Sept. 2016, where a Falcon 9 set to launch to space exploded while being refueled.