After two scrubbed launches, SpaceX will try again early Saturday (local time) to launch a rocket into space and have it touch down safely afterwards. The launch will also send a Dragon capsule with supplies to the International Space Station.
When it happens, the Falcon 9 flight will be the company's fifth official resupply mission to the ISS, a role that has become a bit more significant given that Orbital Sciences is temporarily out of the launch business. The last attempt at the launch, which took place three days ago, was scrubbed due to some faulty hardware readings that would have aborted things if controllers hadn't decided to first. The current plan is to send the Dragon supply capsule to space at 4:45am ET Saturday morning.
But it's what will happen after Dragon is on its way that is attracting the most attention. Over the last several launches from Florida, the company's had the Falcon 9 booster turn around after Dragon separated, and then later perform a controlled plunge through the atmosphere. This launch will see the addition of some retractable fins to help keep the Falcon vertical during its plunge through the atmosphere. If all goes well, the barge pictured above will be waiting to receive it.
SpaceX is playing down the chances that it will manage to land its rocket successfully, given that it's the company's first attempt at a precision landing. But SpaceX is clearly hoping that this is one launch that won't make a splash—its long-term drive to cut launch costs is based on the assumption that, for the cost of a bit of fuel, it can reuse its vehicles.
For those who are up early or in an appropriate time zone, a link to a live webstream should appear on SpaceX's site.
Everyone at EvilDawg.Com wishes SpaceX the best of luck in their endeavors!!!