Published: Tue, April 03, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

SpaceX Launching Supplies To International Space Station

SpaceX Launching Supplies To International Space Station

On Monday afternoon, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket that has launched before to deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. The rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and if anything interferes with the timing, SpaceX will reschedule the launch for 4:08 PM ET tomorrow. Dragon separated from its Falcon 9 second-stage rocket about 10 minutes after liftoff. Both the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon capsule launching today are flight tested, meaning they've been used in previous launches, which makes today's launch all the more special.

This time around, the California-based company made use of a booster that launched a different Dragon resupply mission last August.

SpaceX elected not to attempt to land the first stage.

According to the Kennedy Space Center, the payload also contains investigations on the effect of a low-gravity environment on the production of resilient materials from metal powders and the propagation of food while in space through the Veggie Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System. As such, SpaceX has every reason to expend non-Block 5 boosters with the hope of ensuring that fewer new-generation rockets end up expended after launch.

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One experiment, the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM), is a small Earth-observation facility that will study severe thunderstorms and upper-atmospheric lightning from an external platform at the ISS, outside the European Space Agency's Columbus module. Seriously. For more about some of the cool science leaving the planet today, watch the NASA video below.

Meanwhile, NASA has a lineup of coverage for the mission starting at 2 p.m. EDT, including an explanation of what the Dragon is carrying up to the ISS and information from experts about the research it will facilitate. "That way, our engineers can collect additional data not only during reentry but for the landing that will be useful for the future". Quartz reports that SpaceX is working through its existing Falcon 9 boosters ahead of a new version later this month. Monday's mission, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. PT, will instead carry a SpaceX Dragon capsule for NASA to the orbiting science lab.

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