Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

SpaceX to Launch Dragon Resupply Mission Wednesday

SpaceX to Launch Dragon Resupply Mission Wednesday

In the background, viewers could still hear the team on-console making callouts as the rocket's landing burn started, culminating in a call for the landing team to "move to contingency procedure [s]", the only SpaceX affirmation that something went wrong. It should reach the space station at the weekend.

The webcast below should begin about 20 minutes before liftoff.

- Three days and 3,000 miles apart, SpaceX accomplished its second successful rocket launch of the week Wednesday, sending cargo to the International Space Station. Because rockets can be reused, SpaceX launches are cheaper and have boosted interest in space-based systems by a great factor. "Dragon, you saw separate, and now the solar arrays coming out".

The 64-satellite payload was a record for a US -based launch vehicle, SpaceX said. The first-stage booster aimed for a touchdown on land back at Cape Canaveral, once its job was done, but ended up smashing into the Atlantic Ocean instead. The company's most recent Falcon 9 first stage landing failure was in June 2016.

Wednesday's Falcon rocket was brand new, while the Dragon cargo carrier was recycled by SpaceX.

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Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea. The booster remained intact, according to Musk, who said ships were sent out to recover the rocket.

Today's launch was delayed by a day on short notice thanks to some moldy mouse chow. Another investigation, which will study muscle degeneration, will make use of 36,000 tiny worms.

Other experiments included in the mission include an effort to measure and perform 3D mapping of Earth's tropical and temperate forests; a test of a robotic technology to refuel spacecraft in space; and two student experiments inspired by the "Guardians of the Galaxy" films.

When the Dragon arrives, it will join five other spacecraft already at the station. According to NASA officials, there are two Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which bring crewmembers to the station; two Russian Progress spacecraft; and Northrop Grumman's Cygnus spacecraft.

The Dragon space capsule that flew on Wednesday was used once before, on a supply mission in February 2017. The crew-carrying version of Dragon is scheduled to fly a test mission next month, and if all goes well, will carry astronauts to the station later in the year in what would be the first crewed flight from USA soil since the space shuttles retired in 2011.

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