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SpaceX despatched the newest cargo mission for NASA to the house station on Thursday, with Elon Musk’s firm finishing its seventeenth launch this yr.
The corporate’s Falcon 9 rocket took off at 1:29 p.m. EDT from Kennedy House Middle in Florida. The mission, referred to as CRS-22, has SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft carrying greater than 7,300 kilos of analysis and provides to the Worldwide House Station.
A couple of minutes after the launch, SpaceX landed the Falcon 9 booster — the biggest, backside portion of the rocket — on an autonomous ship within the Atlantic Ocean. The Cargo Dragon capsule separated from the rocket about 12 minutes after liftoff, with the spacecraft anticipated to dock with the ISS on Saturday.
Throughout a pre-launch press convention, SpaceX director of Dragon mission administration Sarah Walker famous that CRS-22 is the fifth Dragon capsule the corporate has despatched to the Worldwide House Station previously 12 months. The corporate has launched a number of crew and cargo missions previously yr, with a full slate within the yr forward as nicely.
Moreover, CRS-22 is SpaceX’s seventeenth mission of 2021. The corporate is on a blistering launch tempo, as missions are going up a mean of each 9 days since 2021 started.
SpaceX’s present tempo places it on observe to conduct about 40 launches this yr, which might simply prime its annual file of 26 launches set final yr. It has launched 119 of its Falcon 9 rockets so far, landed 79 of the Falcon 9’s boosters, and reused boosters for 61 missions.
The corporate’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft rolls out to the launchpad in Florida atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
Walker additionally identified that CRS-22 is the primary mission of this yr to launch on a brand new Falcon 9 rocket booster, as the corporate has been reusing boosters for all its current missions.
“We’re really shocked after we get to a mission [in which we’re] flying a brand new booster,” Walker stated.
CRS-22 carries dozens of analysis investigations for the astronauts on the ISS, together with experiments concerning the survival of tardigrades in house, a transportable ultrasound gadget, robotic operations demonstrations and extra. Cargo Dragon can also be bringing the primary two of six new photo voltaic arrays referred to as iROSA, constructed by way of Boeing and house infrastructure conglomerate Redwire House. The brand new photo voltaic arrays are anticipated to enhance the ISS’ energy technology by 20% to 30%.
This Cargo Dragon spacecraft is predicted to return to Earth in July, splashing down within the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida with 5,300 kilos of experiments and cargo.
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