SpaceX launches Dragon cargo ship to space station with fresh food and science gear

SpaceX launches Dragon cargo ship to the space station with fresh food and science gear: Ending a two-month launch drought, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted a Dragon cargo ship into orbit on Sunday morning to carry the company’s 23rd supply run to the International Space Station, carrying 4,300 pounds of equipment, science gear, food, and other equipment.

Delayed 24 hours due to stormy weather, the countdown ticked to zero and the Falcon’s first stage ignited nine Merlin engines on schedule at 3:14 a.m. EDT, the rocket was launched from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, pushed up to 1.7 million Pound of thrust

The first stage, making its fourth flight, lifted the vehicle out of the dense lower atmosphere and then fell away, handing over the rocket’s second stage to continue ascent into space.

A few seconds after separation, the first stage turned around, restarted three engines in the reverse course, plummeted back into the lower atmosphere, and landed on SpaceX’s new drones, “A Shortfall of Gravitas,” the company’s The third was a marine landing pad. The touchdown marked the 90th booster recovery for SpaceX, it’s 67th at sea.

Prior to this for booster recovery, the new barge was moved to the touchdown point. But the ship is designed to carry out future recovery on its own.

“It was designed and built to travel to the sea, find its position, receive the rocket, and then actually secure the rocket to the ship, all robotically … and then take it off completely autonomously.” Travel back to port,” said Sarah Walker, SpaceX director of Dragon mission management.

“We are in the final stages of testing all of that capability,” she said. “I’m really excited to see this vehicle come online. We really need it.”

About a minute after the first stage had descended, the second stage of the Falcon 9 completed its initial orbit ascent and left the Dragon cargo ship to take off in its 11 minutes and 45 seconds after liftoff.

The capsule was launched directly into the space station’s orbital plane and if all went well, the spacecraft would catch up with its mine around 11 a.m. on Sunday, gliding to an automated docking at the laboratory’s forward port. Will do

The Dragon is packed with 2,305 pounds of science gear, about 1,000 pounds of necessary equipment and spare parts, and 1,058 pounds of crew supplies, including “a very good amount of fresh fruit,” said Joel Montalbano, space station program manager at Johnson Space. . Center in Houston.

“We have lemons, onions, some avocados, some cherry tomatoes,” he said. “We’re also blowing out some ice cream. It’s a big hit with our crew members.”

Science investigations being conducted on the station include experiments to study treatments to reduce bone loss in weightlessness; a device for studying eye problems caused by prolonged exposure to microgravity; experimental robotic arm technology; and research to study the long-term effects of the space environment on various building materials.

And to encourage interest in science among young women, three Girl Scout experiments are on board.

One will assess how ants tunnel in weightlessness, another will study how tomatoes, peppers, and lemongrass grow in space, while the third will look at whether long-term ants can be useful as a source of protein for future astronauts. Brine shrimp can be raised in microgravity to serve as short-duration flights.

Dragon is expected to remain attached to the station by the end of September. By then, new supplies and equipment will have been unloaded and the ship re-packaged with experiments and other material that will be returned to Earth, including footage shot from a high-resolution 3D camera system that has been captured by a planned 12 Will be shot during September Spacewalk.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Japanese crewmate Akihiko Hoshide had planned to do a spacewalk last Monday, but the excursion was called off when Vande Hei developed a pinched nerve.

The spacewalk has now been rescheduled for 12 September, with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet replacing Vande Hei. This will ensure that 3D camera footage of the outing can be returned to Earth aboard the Cargo Dragon in late September. The photography is part of a business project to capture immersive scenes of life in the classroom.


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Information Source: CBSNEWS

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