“We’re excited to have it on board,” station commander Butch Wilmore said according to reports. “We’ll be digging in soon.”
The station was supposed to be resupplied in the fall. But an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket that was to ferry a load exploded in October. SpaceX, Elon Musk’s start-up space company, was scheduled to run a resupply mission in December, but that was postponed because of technical issues until Saturday’s successful launch.
SpaceX was also assessing data from an audacious attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. The rocket hit the barge, Musk said, but landed hard and broke into pieces.
While the attempt was unsuccessful, it was a major coup to be able to hit the barge from such a great distance, industry officials said. And Musk said the company would try again. Creating reusable rockets -- which are typically discarded after each launch -- would be a major breakthrough in space flight by helping to make it far more affordable.
The company has flown five of the 12 resupply missions under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.