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SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral delayed to no earlier than Friday

SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral delayed to no earlier than Friday

SpaceX's planned launch of a Dragon spacecraft destined for the International Space Station has been delayed to no earlier than Friday.

The company confirmed multiple reports that the flight would be pushed back until Friday in a tweet Tuesday evening, blaming the delay on the discovery of unexpected particles in the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage fuel system.

The launch is a first for SpaceX, and its breakthrough could pave the way for a more sustainable space trip.

In a first for SpaceX (and NASA), the mission will launch using a previously flown Falcon 9 first-stage booster, as well as a used Dragon space capsule. Capture of the automated cargo carrier by the space station's Canadian-built robotic arm is expected at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT), less than four hours after three new crew members heading for the outpost are scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

"Taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to detection of particles in 2nd stage fuel system", the company tweeted. "After we dusted off ourselves after the accident, we observed at this as a chance to not only reconstruct the pad but to make it great", stated John Muratore, director of Space Launch Complex 40.

This launch is historic, as we covered last week.

The launch will be the 15th flight of a Dragon capsule, 14th mission to the ISS and the 13th with actual cargo.

This cargo flight is carrying almost 2,200 kg of cargo, supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station, where it is expected to arrive for berthing on Friday, December 15.

The Dragon is carrying 2,205 kilograms of cargo to the station, ranging from crew supplies and hardware to a wide range of science experiments to be carried out inside the station as well as mounted on the station's exterior.

A successful launch on Wednesday will also return Launch Complex 40 to operational status, which was heavily damaged in a September 2016 Falcon 9 explosion.

Travelling to the ISS in the "trunk" of the Dragon capsule are two new instruments for the space station. "We have gone in and done a lot of work reinforcing the structures, developing the ground systems, and building systems common with our other pads so that people and tools can be reused between all the pads at SpaceX". Jensen said that will be followed in early January by the classified "Zuma" mission, which was to launch from Florida in November but was postponed to study a potential payload fairing issue during tests for another mission.

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