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SpaceX Dragon 19th Successful Resupply Mission to the International Space Station

by Evelyn Arevalo December 05, 2019

SpaceX Dragon 19th Successful Resupply Mission to the International Space Station

SpaceX Dragon 19th Successful Resupply Mission to the International Space Station

December 5, 2019        • Evelyn J. Arevalo

Source: SpaceX Livestream

Today's SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was successful! SpaceX was tasked to deliver a variety of science equipment to astronauts who live and work on the orbiting laboratory.

This launch was the 19th mission, CRS-19, for SpaceX under their Commercial Resupply Cargo Services contract with NASA. A new Falcon 9 rocket launched a Dragon cargo spacecraft at 12:29 PM EST. from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The Dragon cargo capsule is carrying around 5,200 lbs of cargo destined to the ISS.


Some of the scientific experiments and equipment that were launched aboard the Dragon spacecraft include: 40 mighty mice, which are genetically engineered to conduct an experiment to test a potential solution for muscle degradation. A beer brewing experiment by Budweiser is also aboard, to evaluate how barley seeds germinate in space. This kind of research is important because it will shed more knowledge on how crops grow in space. Researchers could then utilize what they learned to figure out the most efficient way to grow crops for future space travelers' food consumption. A "robot hotel" is also on it's way to the ISS today, named RiTS, it is actually a robot storage unit that will be hooked to the outside of the station. Astronauts will attach the unit during a spacewalk, two vital leak detector robots, named RELL, will live there. Another cargo is a Japanese hyperspectral imager, that will gather high-resolution Earth observations in multiple wavelengths. Such observations could be utilized to monitor forests and farms, as well as a mean to identify energy and mineral resources. Also part of this resupply mission, is an updated version of the CIMON robotic astronaut assistant, a large, plastic 3D printed robot head with artificial intelligence. CIMON is designed to show empathy, it is now able to sense emotions.

The Dragon spacecraft is also delivering holiday gifts for the six astronauts residing at the space station!


The spacecraft used during this launch has been used a couple of times before, first in 2014, and then in 2017, during previous ISS resupply missions. This third use demonstrates the craft is reusable and still reliable to send cargo. Dragon will dock to the station on Saturday, astronauts will unload the cargo then Dragon will be sent back to Earth in order to be refurbished and used again. SpaceX designed it to achieve reusability which significantly reduces the cost.


During today's launch, SpaceX was successful in recovering Falcon 9's first-stage rocket booster. It landed vertically on the Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) autonomous droneship located in the Atlantic Ocean. This booster can now be reused for future missions, the company aims to achieve full reusability one day. Most rocket companies discard or loose their spacecraft which can become space junk. SpaceX has really revolutionized the space industry by developing technology to bring the rocket's first stage back to Earth --in order to be refurbished and used again. Today's rocket landing, became the 46th time SpaceX has recovered an orbital-class rocket! 

On Saturday, Dragon will dock with the space station with the help of the robotic arm, and spend around four weeks at the station. Meanwhile, astronauts will unload the cargo and load it with 3,800 lbs of other types of return cargo, that includes previous results of experiments conducted on the orbiting lab.

Congrats to NASA and SpaceX! 

 




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