Sunday July 17, 2016

Live Tonight: SpaceX Cargo Mission, Rocket Landing

A Falcon 9 rocket will be lifting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 12:45 a.m. EDT, and the booster's first stage will try to touch down softly back at Cape Canaveral minutes later. If things go according to plan, it will be the fifth successful landing.

"I'm pretty optimistic at this point in time that we land it, but I would always knock on wood," Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of flight reliability at SpaceX, said during a prelaunch news conference Saturday (July 16). "That's part of the nature of this maneuver آ— it's pretty challenging." The landing is a secondary objective, however; the main goal of the Falcon 9 launch is to send Dragon on its way to the ISS. The capsule is loaded up with about 3,800 lbs. (1,700 kilograms) of supplies and scientific experiments, as well as a crucial docking adapter that will allow future crewed spacecraft to hook up more easily with the orbiting lab.