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After fixing engine glitch SpaceX blasts off cargo from historic NASA launchpad

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral on February 18, 2017
NASA/AFP
Launch was initially planned for Saturday, but was canceled just 13 seconds before liftoff

SpaceX on Sunday blasted off its Falcon 9 rocket carrying the unmanned Dragon cargo ship, packed with food and supplies for the six astronauts living at the International Space Station.

The white rocket soared into the cloudy, gray skies over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9:38 am (1438 GMT).

The mission was the first to take off from NASA's historic launchpad 39A, the origin of the pioneering US spaceflights that took astronauts to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the space shuttle missions that ran from 1981 to 2011.

The launch was initially planned for Saturday, but was canceled just 13 seconds before liftoff due to a glitch with the rocket engine.

"They resolved all the technical issues last night," said NASA's Bob Cabana, director of Kennedy Space Center.

The origin of the problem -- a piece of equipment known as the thrust vector control actuator in the second stage -- was replaced. Subsequent tests showed it was working fine, a SpaceX spokesman explained. 

The unmanned spaceship is packed with more than 5,000 pounds (2,267 kilograms) of food, gear and science experiments for the astronauts in orbit.

It is the 10th such resupply mission for SpaceX, which along with Orbital ATK has a multi-year contract with NASA to send supplies to the International Space Station.

Following the launch, SpaceX plans to try landing the booster portion of the Falcon 9 at a different part of Cape Canaveral.

If successful, the upright touchdown of the Falcon 9's first stage would mark the third time SpaceX has managed to stick a landing on solid ground. 

Other such landings have taken place on floating ocean platforms, as the company perfects its techniques of powering costly rocket parts back to land instead of jettisoning them in the ocean after a single use.

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. . . more than 5,000 pounds (2,267 kilograms) of food, gear and science experiments . . . How embarrassing that your stories are cluttered with incoherent legacy units of measure. Please do not enable Americans by using those outdated units of measure. Please stand out as a bold, forward-looking media source that uses only metric units of measure. Please do not dumb your news down for measurement-challenged Americans. Do us all a favor and simplify all units of measure using one system. Please do not give the excuse that Americans will not understand. Americans do not understand BECAUSE news stories like yours continue using legacy units of measure. Break the dysfunctional cycle! Obviously, 5,000 pounds is a rough estimate, which should have been given in a rounded figure in kilograms. This is very poor journalism.

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