After several delays, SpaceX’s Dragon supply ship has finally taken off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral base.
The private spacecraft took off around 3 am local time on Saturday, ending a lead-up to the supply mission that was plagued by unusual delays. The craft’s reusable boosters usefully landed on floating platforms in the ocean, known as Droneships.
The spacecraft, tasked with transporting essential supplies to the International Space Station, had been scheduled to take place on Wednesday, but it was delayed as controllers attempted to fix an issue with the electrical distribution unit. The failure left the craft operating at only 75% of its usual power supply.
Barely 24 hours before the launch, a test of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule was also disrupted by an explosion, something SpaceX labelled “an anomaly”.
That fix was successful, and the spacecraft now heads to the International Space Station, a journey which is expected to take at least two days.
This is SpaceX’s 17th supply mission for NASA. The private company was contracted to transport a payload of almost 3 tonnes which included technology that will be used to map and measure Carbon Dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere.
Controversial entrepreneur Elon Musk founded the company SpaceX in 2002, with the aim of making space travel affordable for all.