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SpaceX launches Dragon cargo spacecraft to ISS
Posted: Fri, Apr 18, 2014, 7:23 PM ET (2323 GMT)
Falcon 9 launch of Dragon on CRS-3 mission (NASA/KSC) A Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched a Dragon cargo spacecraft Friday on a mission to ferry cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). The Falcon 9 v1.1 lifted off at 3:25 pm EDT (1915 GMT) and released the Dragon cargo spacecraft into low Earth orbit about ten minutes later. There were no technical issues with the countdown and the weather, which had been forecast to be poor, held off long enough for the launch to take place. The Dragon is scheduled to be grappled by the ISS's robotic arm at 7:14 am EDT (1114 GMT) Sunday and be berthed to the station. The launch also allows NASA to proceed with plans to perform a spacewalk on Wednesday to replace a failed backup computer on the station's exterior. The launch was also designed to test the ability of SpaceX to reenter the Falcon 9's first stage and have if softly splashdown in the Atlantic. Initial data indicated that the first phases of reentry went well, but SpaceX was waiting for additional data collected by aircraft. In addition, heavy seas at the landing site hampered efforts by recovery ships to be in position to recover the stage if it did make it to the ocean intact.
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