SpaceX successfully launches space station resupply mission

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Dragon cargo ship, blasted-off at 4:30 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon. Photo by NASA TV/screenshot

April 3 (UPI) — SpaceX sent another Dragon spaceship into space on Monday afternoon. The cargo ship is now en route to the International Space Station.

The Dragon vessel was carried into space by SpaceX’s Falcon 9, which launched from South Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Monday’s launch was SpaceX’s 14th space station resupply mission.

A few minutes after takeoff, the first stage engines cut off, having carried Dragon out of the Earth’s atmosphere. The first stage safely separated and fell back to the Earth. The second stage burn carried Dragon into orbit, after which Dragon separated from the second stage, ignited its thrusters and deployed its solar arrays.

“Dragon confirmed in good orbit,” SpaceX wrote on Twitter.

The cargo ship will arrive at the space station on Wednesday morning.

As usual, the cargo vessel is carrying a combination of supplies, equipment and science experiments to the space station. Included among the science-related cargo is an experiment designed to study severe thunderstorms on Earth. Also included are a range of materials, coatings and components that will be exposed to the harsh space environment and monitored for damage.

Another experiment making its way to space is the Comparative Real-time Metabolic Activity Tracking for Improved Therapeutic Assessment Screening Panels. The study is designed to test the effects of microgravity on the synthesis and deployment of five different therapeutic compounds.

“This investigation determines the feasibility of developing improved pharmaceuticals in microgravity using a new method to test the metabolic impacts of drug compounds,” NASA said in an update. “This could lead to more effective, less expensive drugs.”

The Dragon cargo ship and its 5,800 pounds of supplies, hardware and science experiments will be received by the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. The astronauts aboard ISS have been cleaning up to make room for the cargo and practicing for the vessel’s reception.


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