SpaceX debut of recycled rocket and new launch pad delayed

- SpaceX is preparing for the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft for a NASA mission, to resupply the International Space Station.

SpaceX director Jessica Jensen says both the rocket and space craft are "flight proven," but the launch pad is brand new.  NASA's International Space Station manager, Kirk Shireman, says the risk of launching a recycled rocket is about the same as for a brand new one. He says he'll be just as anxious as he always is at every launch.

SpaceX spent $50-million to completely rebuild the launch pad after a Falcon 9 rocket exploded at Space Launch Complex 40 back in September of 2016. Jensen says the pad has a new and improved strongback, which raises and retracts from the rocket, as well as launch infrastructure that was buried underground to better protect it.

The rocket launch, originally scheduled for 11:46 a.m. on Tuesday, has been delayed.  SpaceX said they needed "to allow for additional time for pre-launch ground systems checks" and had not announced a new launch window as of late Monday.  As before, the first-stage booster will attempt to land back at Cape Canaveral. 

However, on Wednesday morning, it was announced that NASA and SpaceX are now targeting a launch no earlier than 10:35 a.m. on Friday, December 15th. SpaceX says that they are taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to detection of particles in the second stage fuel system. 

Some information taken from the Associated Press.

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