In The Register, Brid-Aine Parnell explains what will be different about the next SpaceX launch to resupply the ISS:
NASA has said that SpaceX’s latest cargoship launch to the International Space Station will go ahead, despite a critical computer outage on the station, allowing the firm to test the craft’s hovering abilities.
The booster rocket that’s blasting the Dragon supply capsule into space is going to attempt to make a hovering soft landing after it’s disengaged and dropped back to Earth.
The spruced-up Falcon 9 has its own landing legs, which Elon Musk’s space tech company hopes will eventually make for precise set-downs on the surface of alien worlds. For this test though, the rocket will still be coming down over the ocean, just in case.
The launch is already a month late with its nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, including VEGGIE, a new unit capable of growing salad vegetables for the ‘nauts to munch on. The ship was delayed from March after a ground-based radar system at Cape Canaveral was damaged.