SpaceX Tries Historic Launch Again Early Tuesday
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
The space capsule, while robotic, is not able to dock itself at the International Space Station. Instead, the spacecraft will pull up close to the station so that astronauts inside the orbiting lab can use the robotic arm to latch onto the vehicle and attach it to the Harmony docking port.
After several weeks linked to the space station, the Dragon capsule is expected to depart the outpost and splash down in the Pacific Ocean a few hundred miles west of the Southern California coast. A recovery ship will retrieve the capsule from the the ocean.
The Falcon 9 rocket also carries a secondary payload, a container holding 308 lipstick-tube-sized canisters filled with cremated remains of hard core space fans heading to the final frontier.
The ashes onboard include actor James Doohan, who played chief engineer Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott on the original Star Trek television series, and Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper who died in 2004.
If all goes as planned, nine minutes and 49 seconds after liftoff, Dragon’s second stage will separate. It will spend the next year or so circling the Earth as an orbital space memorial before it is pulled back into the atmosphere and incinerated.
The Earth-orbiting space memorials are arranged by the Houston-based company, Celestis Inc., and each one costs about $3,000.
‘Beam me up, Scotty!’