SpaceX Launches Previously Used Cargo Capsule for First Time

Saturday's blastoff of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the unmanned Dragon capsule went off like clockwork, rising from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on schedule at 5:07 p.m. local time.

It will carry with it almost 6,000 pounds of supplies for astronauts, along with science experiments and research investigations.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launches from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Saturday, June 3, 2017. Twenty of the mice will be returned to Earth on a future Dragon flight for extended study. After having been retrieved from that flight, it was refurbished and prepared for a second launch.

The Dragon soaring Saturday has the same hull and most of the same parts from its 2014 flight.

Reusing it is in line with the company's long-term goal of significantly reducing spaceflight costs through multiple uses of its equipment.

About seven minutes after launch, the Falcon 9's first-stage booster landed upright at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This is the first time SpaceX is sending a reused spacecraft to orbit, two months after it first launched a reused rocket booster.

"NASA complied with all legal requirements to notify the Congress of this activity, and all of the ISS partners approved the inclusion of the experiment", Hambleton said in an email.

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"The majority of this Dragon has been to the space station and been docked [there] for a couple of weeks", said Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's VP for mission assurance.

It has now successfully reused two of those three major components, marking a new milestone for the space company.

SpaceX continues to get more use out of its individual rockets and spacecraft than just about any other organization in history.

The Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non-space-faring nations, aimed at supporting developing countries to build and launch their first satellite. SpaceX is leasing the pad from NASA.

The CRS-11 mission Thursday will not use a pre-flown rocket.

For more than 16 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space.

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