SpaceX flies final Falcon 9 for 2017

A Dragon spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station after an apparently flawless launch Friday from a rebuilt pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10:36:09 a.m. EST and delivered the cargo vessel into low Earth orbit 10 minutes later. Meanwhile, the rocket's first stage returned to Earth about eight minutes after launch, touching down at Landing Zone One at the Cape.

The mission featured the second flight for both the Falcon 9 first stage, and the Dragon capsule.

The launch was staged from Complex 40 at CCAFS. The pad was essentially destroyed during a test of another Falcon 9 rocket, which exploded in 2016 when an unexpected problem developed in the second stage's helium system.

The Dragon capsule is expected to be berthed at the orbital outpost on Sunday.

With this final launch of the calendar year, the next launch from the Cape is now targeted for no earlier than January 4, when another Falcon 9 is to carry into orbit a classified payload known as Zuma. The launch time has not been announced yet.

-- Jim Banke

Next Launch NET Jan. 4


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