SpaceX aims to launch ISS resupply mission on February 18th

It will be the second since a Falcon 9 rocket exploded back in September.

Scott Audette / REUTERS

After one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded on the launch pad last September, SpaceX sprinted to get back on track, and achieved a successful comeback launch in mid-January. To deal with the backlog of launches delayed by the accident, the company set an ambitious schedule of liftoffs every two to three weeks. The first of these, they announced today, will be an ISS resupply mission using one of their Dragon capsules set to fly on February 18th.

The shipment will include tons of supplies and equipment, including an instrument to monitor the ozone layer from outside the space station. But unlike the comeback launch, which lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the resupply mission will hopefully be the first to launch from pad LC-39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

The pad is likely key to meeting their rapid launch schedule after their previous Florida site at Cape Canaveral is still undergoing repairs after the September failure. Future liftoffs are planned for the new pad, including a commercial satellite launch for Echostar that was bumped up to late February to fit in the ISS resupply mission.