The SpaceX Dragon capsule resupplied the International Space Station with an interesting assortment of deliveries. Full video of spacecraft takeoff is available for online streaming.
Since its space shuttle program closure in 2011, NASA relied on SpaceX and other US companies to deliver cargo and crews to the ISS. This most recent delivery marked the 23rd SpaceX commercial resupply mission serviced for NASA in the last decade.
The resupply mission was done through a recycled Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule, blasting from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The Dragon capsule carried 4800 pounds of supplies and experiments during its flight.
SpaceX Resupply Launch for ISS: Where to Rewatch Rocket Flight
The video for the flight was streamed through SpaceX's official YouTube Channel. The video also included clips of:
- The Dragon cargo unit
- The supplies loaded
- ISS flight control room in Houston Texas
- ISS Columbus and Destiny Module
After its launch, Falcon was retrieved through SpaceX's newest rocket-catching droneship called "A Shortfall of Gravitas." SpaceX founder Elon Musk named the vessel as a tribute to the late science fiction writer Iain Banks.
The full video of the mission is embedded below.
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SpaceX Dragon Capsule Carried Strange Payloads
SpaceX has a history of sending unlikely objects outside Earth's atmosphere. According to DailyStar, they previously launched a 2008-model Tesla Roadstar into space, which has reached a year-long orbit around the Sun. As such, they are no strangers to eccentric space cargos.
Many researchers take advantage of ISS low-gravity environments to launch different and exciting experiments. In this most recent delivery, ISS received ants, fruits, and a robotic arm from SpaceX.
According to CBS Miami, Dragon delivered fresh foods like avocados, lemons, and ice cream for the seven astronauts onboard the ISS. These are classified as provisions and treats for the hardworking researchers.
A section of the payload included samples of concrete, solar cells, and other materials that need to be tested in a weightless environment.
The Girl Scouts of Citrus also delivered three student-led investigations to space, all meant to evaluate the characteristic of living organisms in low-Earth orbit. These experiments involved ants, brine shrimps, and plants.
Researchers from the Houston Methodist Research Institute have a long history with the ISS. Their latest delivery was a tunable drug delivery implant that, in theory, could be remotely controlled to release specific amounts of a drug in the body. If completed, this tool should be able to provide individualized treatment for different patients.
University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists also contributed mouse-ear cress, a small flowering plant used for genetic research.
Lastly, the Japanese start-up company Gitai Inc sent an experimental robotic arm designed to undertake minor repairs on the spacecraft and perform mundane chores normally done by the astronauts. Ideally, this arm would also be upgraded for futures space ventures, like remotely building lunar bases for space exploration.
This should be an exciting few weeks of non-stop experiments for the ISS crew.