SpaceX Launch: Forecast Shows Permissible Weather Conditions

Mar 13, 2014 10:13 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro


Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket is still scheduled to liftoff at 4:41 a.m. on March 16, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, despite the chance of a potential weather concern.

A recent forecast issued by the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron shows a 70% chance of overall permissible weather conditions during the SpaceX launch.

The main weather concern for launch right now is thick clouds, which is not expected to delay liftoff time, according to the squadron.

Most of the 5,000-lb. payload has been packed inside the Falcon's Dragon spacecraft already, according to SpaceX.

The Dragon spacecraft is the only reusable part of the rocket, as Falcon will fall into the ocean once it runs out of gas. SpaceX is trying to figure out ways to reuse rockets to help cut down the cost of space missions, especially since sending supplies to the ISS is so costly.

"We build rockets that cost over $100 million each. We use them once, then we throw them away. It's like buying a Rolls-Royce, driving it until its first tank of gas runs out, ditching it, then buying another Rolls," said the Space Development Steering Committee, according to Fox News.

SpaceX charges $38,000 per pound of cargo sent to the ISS, a price that SpaceX believes can be lowers once they're able to reuse rockets.

The upcoming flight is SpaceX's third operational cargo delivery to the ISS under a $1.6 billion commercial resupply contract with NASA.

The capsule will bring back over 3,500 pounds of experiment samples and gear for restoration and analysis. It will return with a parachute-assisted landing in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California a few hours after its release from the space station, on April 17.

Make sure to check back after this weekend's launch to see how it went.

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