For the first time, SpaceX was able to launch a reusable rocket with a cargo ship for NASA on December 15, 2017. This is another important step to reduce the cost of space flight. After launch, the Ilona Mask rocket landed on the hard ground of Cape Canaveral.
SpaceX has already returned 30 rocket boosters, including locations on land and a floating ocean platform. The rocket took off at 10:36 am local time and after 3 minutes there was a separation of the launch vehicle and the second stage.
The second stage continued the transportation of the Dragon to the ISS, and the tail section switched on the engines and maneuvered Cape Canaveral to the landing zone 1 of the Air Force. In June, Falcon 9 delivered the CRS-11 mission to the station, and the capsule visited the same place in 2015. SpaceX representatives believe that this is the beginning of the successful process of using reusable rockets. Of course, the first tests ended in explosions and derailments, but only this year the company returned 14 accelerators to Earth. It is important to note that this is the first task received from NASA, whose researchers consider the proposed technology to be completely safe.
The ship is filled with 2,200 kg of food, supplies and experiments (the study of thyroid cancer and the cultivation of barley). The capsule should arrive at the ISS on Sunday.