Tests of Falcon 9 Rocket Before Launch of Station Cargo

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SpaceX, perhaps one of the most iconic space agencies of the world never stops pursuing their ideal of making space travel affordable and fast.

What happened?

Last Friday evening, a test of a Falcon 9 rocket took place at Cape Canaveral. All the 9 Merlin engines of the rocket were ignited for a few seconds, while the launcher was kept on the ground by special restraints.

SpaceX confirmed that takeoff is rescheduled on Wednesday, for a space station resupply run, because of a three day delay caused by technical issues.

When is the actual launch?

The best time for launch is 6:24 p.m. EDT, when Cape Canaveral is brought by Earth’s rotation under the orbit of the International Space Station.

A Dragon cargo capsule, which has previously been used for two resupply missions in 2015 and 2017 will enter orbit via Falcon 9 launcher. If all goes well, the carrier will reach the destination early Friday, containing provisions, lots of cargo and scientific experiments.

This flight marks a milestone in SpaceX’s portfolio : this is the first Dragon capsule that got to fly three times, as this is the maximum amount of flights they’re designed to endure.

The mission is part of a $3.04 billion contract that was signed between Spacex and NASA, being the 18th resupply launch out of 20.

Reusability

The Falcon 9 launcher will be returned to its designated place at pad 40 for this weekend, in order to attach the Dragon cargo craft. It’s notable that the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry the Dragon cargo to the International Space Station is somewhat reused, its first stage has been previously used in May for a launch.

The first stage of the rocket will return for a rocket sustained touchdown, eight minutes after takeoff.

Houston, we have… mice

40 female mice are part of the Dragon cargo. After about a month in orbit, 30 of them will be returned to Earth and sent to researchers to analyze how they were affected by spaceflight. The rest of the mice will spend more time in space, serving the same purpose.


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