SpaceX Sends Another Dragon with Supplies to Space

SpaceX Dragon launches for the ISS 1 photo
Photo: Spacex via Youtube
One day after the new crew of the International Space Station reached their new home in the sky, a cargo ship went up from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral carrying supplies, research, and hardware needed over the next few months for the station’s operations.
All these objects were launched onboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. In all, more than 5,600 pounds of cargo were crammed into the ship and are expected to safely reach the ISS hatch on Friday, December 7.

This launch marks the second SpaceX operation conducted in just as many days, following the SmallSat Express launched on December 4. It also becomes the 20th overall launch conducted by Elon Musk’s company in a single year, an absolute record for any space operator, be it government-owned or privately operated.

Just like the Falcon 9 booster used on the SmallSat mission, the Dragon spacecraft was used in missions before. It is the same capsule that was sent to the ISS in February 2017 with the CRS-10 mission. Wednesday’s launch was called CRS-16, because it is the sixteenth of twenty awarded by NASA to SpaceX.

Among the experiments sent up is the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation, or GEDI, which will be used to help scientists better understand carbon and water cycling processes on Earth.

The first transfer and long-term storage of liquid methane in microgravity will be tested with the help of the Robotic Refueling Mission-3 (RRM3), while chemists and doctors will use another experiment, Growth of Large, Perfect Protein Crystals for Neutron Crystallography to study the role of protein in protecting the human body from ionizing radiation.

In January next year, the Dragon capsule will depart the ISS, bringing back to Earth 4,000 pounds of research, hardware and crew supplies.

Also in January, the Crew version of the Dragon is scheduled to launch empty for its first flight test.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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