To paraphrase an age-old saying: If at first you don't succeed, well, dust off the historic launch pad and try another liftoff.
Not as catchy as the original, perhaps, but certainly fitting for SpaceX, which on Sunday is making its second attempt this weekend at NASA's Launch Complex 39A, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The first attempt, scrubbed Saturday with just 13 seconds before liftoff, was foiled by concerns over an anomaly discovered in the rocket's steering system.
The issue was "99% likely to be fine," Elon Musk, founder of the private space company, tweeted Saturday, "but that 1% chance isn't worth rolling the dice. Better to wait a day."
Btw, 99% likely to be fine (closed loop TVC wd overcome error), but that 1% chance isn't worth rolling the dice. Better to wait a day.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 18, 2017
And wait a day they did. SpaceX rescheduled its launch — which you can watch live in the video above — for Sunday morning at approximately 9:38 ET.
The delay, disappointing as it may have been, does nothing to damper the history of the moment. Where there's nothing rare about the 5,500 pounds of cargo strapped in for the resupply mission Sunday, the pad it's taking off from has quite a backstory: Launch Complex 39A was the site that sent the first humans to the moon in the 1969 Apollo 11 mission.
It was the pad for a number of NASA's most important missions — from its early days sending people to space, to the three decades of the space shuttle program.
Now the pad, which hasn't been used since that program ended, is getting dusted off for a new era "as a spaceport open for use by public — and commercial — missions to space," NPR's Rae Ellen Bichell.
That includes SpaceX, which is sending a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station with a Falcon 9 rocket — then, if all goes to plan, landing the first stage of that rocket back on a platform.
As we noted Saturday, NASA says the resupply mission packs supplies and materials for more than a few experiments:
"Science investigations launching on Dragon include commercial and academic research investigations that will enable researchers to advance their knowledge of the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges astronauts face during long-duration spaceflight.
"One experiment will use the microgravity environment to grow stem cells that are of sufficient quality and quantity to use in the treatment of patients who have suffered a stroke. A Merck Research Labs investigation will test growth in microgravity of antibodies important for fighting a wide range of human diseases, including cancer."
This time around, SpaceX appears confident about the chances of a successful launch. "All systems go," the company declared in a tweet Sunday morning.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 19, 2017