After a weather related delay, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft successfully launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying over 7,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on Monday, June 5, at 11:47 a.m. EDT, marking SpaceX's 28th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-28) mission for NASA to the orbiting laboratory. It marks SpaceX’s 39th mission of the year, out of 100 scheduled in its 2023 launch manifest which is double what the company launched last year.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/alTnpRy2Bu— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 5, 2023
The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that propelled Dragon CRS-28 to orbit is identified as B1077-5, it has now been used five times. It previously launched: NASA’s Crew-5 astronaut mission to ISS, the U.S. Space Force GPS-III Space Vehicle 06 satellite, Inmarsat I-6, and the Starlink Group 5-10 mission. Booster B1077-5 was recovered a fifth time around 8-minutes after liftoff, it landed on the ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ landing platform ship which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s coast. It marked SpaceX’s 198 landing of an orbital-class rocket and the 171 time it reused a previously-flown booster.
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship pic.twitter.com/AS5e7fJcQ9— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 5, 2023
After reaching orbit, Dragon deployed its solar arrays and is now safely on its way to the Space Station; the uncrewed voyage is expected to be 18-hours-long. The spacecraft will perform a series of thruster firings to facilitate its arrival at the ISS on Tuesday, June 6, in the morning. The docking process will be autonomously executed as Dragon attaches to the space-facing port of the station's Harmony module. NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg and Frank Rubio will monitor the autonomous docking operations. Viewers can tune in to NASA TV (video linked below) at 4:15 a.m. to witness the live coverage of Dragon's arrival. Docking is scheduled for approximately 5:50 a.m. EDT.
Aside from delivering essential supplies, hardware, and fresh food like apples, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, various cheeses, and cherry tomatoes, for the astronauts at the ISS to enjoy. Dragon is also carrying supplies to perform important scientific investigations and experiments in microgravity. One notable payload includes the next pair of International Space Station Roll Out Solar Arrays (IROSAs). These innovative solar panels, capable of expanding using stored kinetic energy, will enhance the space station's energy-production capabilities. This marks the third set of IROSAs launched in the SpaceX Dragon's trunk, and once installed, they will contribute to a 20% to 30% increase in power for space station research and operations.
Furthermore, students from York University in Toronto, Ontario, have contributed a camera that will monitor snow and ice coverage in northern Canada, aiding climate monitoring efforts. Additional experiments include Genes in Space-10, a DNA experiment designed by students and sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory, and the next generation of seeds for NASA's Plant Habitat-03, which focuses on studying plant adaptation to the space environment.
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Featured Image Source: SpaceX
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About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.