Tonight SpaceX will live-test the reusable rocket that could change spaceflight

There’s some drama in space today: A malfunctioning computer on the International Space Station (ISS) has jangled nerves around a routine re-supply mission already complicated by US-Russian tensions.

But there’s also important news in a surprise announcement from SpaceX, the private company headed by Elon Musk, which designed and built the rocket and spacecraft for today’s re-supply flight. The launch, scheduled for just before 5pm US Eastern time, will also serve as a test of the company’s reusable rocket. After the robotic Dragon spacecraft is launched toward its rendezvous with the ISS in orbit, the Falcon rocket that sent it on its way won’t just tumble into the Atlantic ocean: It will attempt to deploy four landing legs and use thrusters to control its descent, something like this but over water:
 
http://youtu.be/9ZDkItO-0a4
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Eric Write head editor and chief at The Pluto Daily