Yesterday's launch was scrubbed due to the threat of lightning, so SpaceX will attempt to launch its reusable Falcon 9 rocket today at 4:10PM ET. The company faces another coin-flip weather report, with the chance of a "go" launch sitting at 60 percent. When the rocket does get off the ground it will mark the sixth of 12 resupply missions NASA has contracted SpaceX to perform. This round will bring 2 tons of cargo to the International Space Station, including food, scientific instruments, and an espresso machine specially designed to work in space called "ISSpresso."
Starting this week, astronauts could get to drink fresh espresso
More importantly, SpaceX is planning to test the company's reusable Falcon 9 (or Falcon 9R) rocket. Instead of losing the rocket's first stage in the ocean, the company hopes to use four fins to stabilize the rocket during its descent and 70-foot-wide landing legs to set it down gently — but not on solid ground. The rocket will instead aim for a 300-by-100-foot autonomous drone ship, which is already waiting in the ocean east of Cape Canaveral.
Odds of rocket landing successfully today are still less than 50%. The 80% figure by end of year is only bcs many launches ahead.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2015
SpaceX lost its first Falcon 9R in a catastrophic explosion, but was almost a successful landing — which is wild considering that the company gave it no better than a 50 percent chance of succeeding. The rocket was nearly on target despite the fact that it ran out of hydraulic fluid, which caused the fins to fail, resulting in too fast a descent. The second Falcon 9R was lost at sea when rough weather kept the drone ship docked.
Meanwhile, the ISSpresso machine was made by Italian coffee company Lavazza, in conjunction with an engineering firm and the Italian Space Agency. It won't provide any real nutritional benefit, but NASA officials have talked about its importance in keeping the inhabitants of the ISS happy and comfortable. Little things like fresh espresso or personalized food menus can go a long way in boosting your morale when you're orbiting Earth in a tin can.