Dragon launched to orbit, CRS-11 in progress

04 June, 2017, 06:39 | Author: Lorena Waters
  • SpaceX blasts off cargo using recycled spaceship

The refurbished Dragon cargo capsule soared into space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 5:07 pm (2107 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A 23-story-tall SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket manufactured in Hawthorne blasted off Saturday afternoon from a Florida launchpad in the 100th trip ever from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex-39A, once home to the historic Apollo missions.

Under the agreement, NanoRacks will deliver the device studying the effects of space environments on DNA to the US side of the space station and astronauts there will conduct studies using the device in about two weeks, data from which will be sent back to the Chinese researchers.

The launch also marked the first flight of a "used" Dragon spacecraft.

Reusing a spacecraft isn't new. SpaceX has successfully returned numerous rockets over the past few years, including when it successfully launched and then landed a used rocket for the first time in March.

"Although there are pros and cons to privatizing space exploration, current trends suggest that many of NASA's space exploration responsibilities are being shifted towards the private sector under government contracts", read the report.

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The mission, dubbed CRS-11, will carry almost 6,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, according to SpaceX.

Once secured, the crew will begin to unload the 1,700 kilograms of pressurized cargo, while an additional 1,600 kilograms of unpressurised material will be unpacked from Dragon's trunk using the station's robotic arm. Two people - cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Russian Federation and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency - recently left the station and returned to Earth on Friday.

The effort is part of SpaceX's push to make spaceflight cheaper by re-using costly rocket and spaceship components after each launch, rather than ditching them in the ocean.

During a launch, the second stage booster ignites once the first stage separates from the spacecraft. It is unclear when the next refurbished capsule will be flown.

A Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Dragon, filled with supplies and science experiments, into orbit. If successful, they will be the first-ever rodents returned by the U.S.to Earth. Musk also said the company recovered at least a portion of the rocket's fairing - a rocket add-on that can house satellites - after that launch.

NASA Television and the agency's website will provide live coverage of the rendezvous and capture beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, June 5.

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