SpaceX was all set to launch its Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday but it was cancelled at the last moment. The launch has to take place from the historic launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and was called off due to a vector control issue in the upper stage of the vehicle.
As per the original schedule, the launch was planned to happen on Saturday, February 18th at 10:01 AM ET and was scrubbed just 13 seconds before the liftoff. It has been rescheduled to happen the next day on Sunday at 9:38 AM ET. The spaceflight was bound for International Space Station for delivering some essentials to the astronauts stationed there.
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is planned to deliver strains of the deadly superbug MRSA for the astronauts to study the behaviour of the bacteria in microgravity. The vehicle is also carrying SAGE-III, which will be mounted to the outside of ISS for studying the Earth’s ozone layer. A module called Raven will also be travelling to space along with other equipment to test out a new type of navigation system for space.
The launch wasn’t supposed to happen from this launch pad at first. SpaceX was originally planned for last year and was supposed to take off from another site of the company at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station called Launch Complex 40. It was only after the explosion in a Falcon 9 rocket during a routine fuelling procedure that the pad was damaged and SpaceX had to find another place to launch its rockets.
This is also not the first time that SpaceX is sending supplies to the ISS; the launch would be the company’s tenth resupply mission. But this launch is special for the company as it is happening from the historical launch pad that last hosted the Apollo 11 mission in 2011. SpaceX has signed a 20-year lease with NASA to upgrade the launch pad to support the liftoff of Falcon 9 rocket and its future mission including the Falcon Heavy.