Join Transform 2021 this July 12-16. Register for the AI event of the year.

(Reuters) — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida on Friday with a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station and the launch vehicle’s reusable main-stage booster set to attempt a quick return landing on an ocean platform, NASA said.

The liftoff at 4:43 p.m. from Cape Canaveral marked the resumption of resupply flights by privately owned Space Exploration Technologies for NASA following a launch accident in June 2015 that destroyed a different cargo payload for the space station.

About 2-1/2 minutes after Friday’s launch, the main part of the two-stage SpaceX rocket separated, turned around and headed toward a landing platform floating in the Atlantic about 185 miles (300 km) northeast of Cape Canaveral.

An exterior of the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California May 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Above: An exterior of the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California May 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Four previous at-sea landing bids have failed. But a Falcon 9 did achieve a successful ground-based touchdown in December, a key milestone in the quest by high-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s launch service to develop a cheap, reusable rocket.

The rocket’s cargo ship, dubbed Dragon, was due to arrive on Sunday at the International Space Station, the $100 billion laboratory flying about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

The delivery vehicle was packed with about 7,000 pounds (3,175 kg) of food, supplies and science experiments, including a prototype inflatable habitat, bound for the orbiting outpost.

(Reporting by Irene Klotz from Cape Canaveral; Editing by Steve Gorman and Tom Brown)


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member