SpaceX Delays Launch of Used Rocket for NASA Cargo Delivery Mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo ship stand atop Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in this file photo. SpaceX has delayed its next Falcon 9 launch from SLC-40 to no earlier than Dec. 13, 2017.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo ship stand atop Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in this file photo. SpaceX has delayed its next Falcon 9 launch from SLC-40 to no earlier than Dec. 13, 2017. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has delayed the launch of its next cargo delivery mission for NASA by 24 hours to allow time for additional system checks, the company announced late Monday (Dec. 11).

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will now launch a Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA no earlier than Wednesday (Dec. 13) from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

"Now targeting Dec. 13 for launch of CRS-13 from SLC-40 to allow for additional time for pre-launch ground systems checks," SpaceX representatives wrote in a Twitter update.

It is the second delay for the SpaceX mission, which was originally scheduled to launch Dec. 8. The mission, called CRS-13, is SpaceX's 13th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. The Dragon cargo ship filled with 4,800 lbs. (2,177 kilograms) of supplies and research gear for the space station's crew.

The CRS-13 mission will be SpaceX's first launch from the SLC-40 since an explosion on the pad in September 2016. It will also be the company's first mission to use a previously flown Falcon 9 booster together with a used Dragon space capsule. SpaceX has landed first-stage boosters of its Falcon 9 rockets 19 times on orbital flights. The company has also successfully flown a Dragon cargo ship twice for NASA. But this mission will mark the first to use two reused components. SpaceX has been developing reusable rocket technology to lower the cost of spaceflight.

"This is the beginning of rapid and reliable reusability," SpaceX Dragon mission manager Jessica Jensen said in a prelaunch press conference Monday (Dec. 11). 

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Tariq Malik
Editor-in-Chief

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award (opens in new tab) for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast (opens in new tab) with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network (opens in new tab). To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab).