SpaceX Successfully Completes First Used-Rocket NASA Mission

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The unpiloted cargo mission departed Cape Canaveral a couple of weeks later than officials hoped.

The launch window opens at 10:36 a.m. ET.

Liftoff took place at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Technicians inspected the rocket's other propellant tanks to make sure they contained no unexpected debris before proceeding with Friday's countdown.

The launch was the fourth SpaceX mission to use a previously-flown first stage. This is the first time the company flew both a used rocket and a used Dragon capsule on the same launch.

Forty-four of the 45 Falcon 9 flights have delivered their primary payloads into orbit, a record that does not count the on-pad accident a year ago.

It was the 14th recovery of a booster for SpaceX this year. The company's final planned flight of the year, scheduled for December 22, will blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base powered by another reused booster.

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The first stage booster landing attempt may mean a sonic boom will be heard in Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties.

Since successfully delivering the Koreasat-5A satellite in October, SpaceX's launch schedule has had a long hiatus of over a month. When not filming, or reporting on rocket launches from inside NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Thaddeus can be found mountaineering, practicing photography, and helping communicate science by creating documentary short videos.

"The reality is, the business of space is dominated by launch getting the costs down is important for everyone", Shireman said. NASA signaled that in the future it woul be willing to use SpaceX's reused rockets on a case-by-case basis. The rocket was a SpaceX Falcon 9, and the cargo vehicle was a SpaceX Dragon capsule.

The cargo craft is scheduled to arrive at the station Sunday after a laser-guided final approach to the research outpost.

Acaba assisted Mark Vande Hei in capturing the Dragon as the two spacecraft raced over the Pacific, midway between Australia and New Guinea. Included on board is a sensor created to monitor how much space debris is surrounding the station, as well as another sensor that's supposed to measure how much sunlight reaches the Earth.

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