SpaceX cargo mission blasts off to ISS at last, defying latest hurdle

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday and sped through a cloud-covered sky on its way to deliver supplies to the International Space Station for NASA.

The Hawthorne-based rocket manufacturer launched the cargo mission despite a computer glitch aboard the space station and bad weather that threatened to push the liftoff back a day.

At 12:25 p.m. PDT, the rocket fired up its nine engines and launched into orbit, carrying a capsule packed with 5,000 pounds of supplies for the two Americans, one Japanese and three Russians aboard the space station.

The capsule, named Dragon, is scheduled to rendezvous with the space station on Sunday.

The blastoff from Space Launch Complex 40 occurred despite the failure of one of the space station’s backup computers, which helps a space capsule docking with the ISS.

NASA officials determined to go ahead with the mission despite an issue with a 50-pound box that runs computer commands to help move the space station’s robotic arm along a truss.

The problem was found during a routine check of the device. Two astronauts are scheduled to conduct a spacewalk Wednesday to replace it with a spare.

NASA said the space station possesses enough redundant components to allow the SpaceX mission to launch.

The issue posed another hurdle for SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies Corp., and its mission for NASA. The company initially had planned on launching its rocket in March, but several delays pushed back the mission.

This is SpaceX’s third flight in its $1.6-billion, 12-mission contract with NASA to transport cargo to the space station.

The capsule has an array of cargo onboard, including food, science experiments and even a set of legs for Robonaut 2, NASA's humanoid robot aboard the space station, designed to help astronauts with tasks in space.


Boeing plans to increase workforce in Long Beach, Seal Beach

Space entrepreneur seeks end to spy satellite launch monopoly

Rocket blasts off from Vandenberg, lifts military satellite into orbit

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World