At 5:42 a.m. EDT (0942 GMT), the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket delivered a colorful display as it left the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida with its Dragon capsule full of items like mice and coffee for those aboard the International Space Station, with its arrival date scheduled for Monday, June 2.
As of today, SpaceX has conducted 25 first-stage touchdowns, which SpaceX’s Jessica Jensen explained is in keeping with the company’s mission, according to Space.
“From the get-go, SpaceX has set out to make spaceflight more like commercial air travel — we want to make it safe and affordable and to do it utilizing vehicles that can be reflown repeatedly. This the key to the future of a civilization where we have thousands to millions of people exploring the stars and living out on other planets.”
In a briefing immediately after the launch, NASA’s space station program manager Kirk Shireman described the glorious early morning event.
“We had a beautiful morning. I was going to say breathtaking, but maybe ‘awakening’ might be a better word.”
Jensen noted that she enjoyed thinking of the dazzling effects of the launch as a sort of space jellyfish.
“I like to refer to it as the space jellyfish that’s coming down after us. These are the best.”
Once the Dragon capsule reaches the ISS on Monday, its crew will retrieve the 5,900 pounds worth of supplies onboard, with over half of this amount being much-needed scientific gear.
One of the many projects scientists on the ISS will be working on will involve 20 female mice that are currently traveling on the Dragon. Research being conducted at Northwestern University will be closely monitoring bacteria inside the guts of these brown mice to see how it compares with the bacteria of identical mice on Earth.
Another piece of research scientists aboard the Dragon is NASA’s Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment which will be able to look at vegetation growing on Earth and accurately measure its temperature.
This important project will allow scientists to determine what happens to plants when they suffer from lack of water and stress in general. It will also be able to observe heat waves, wildfires, and volcanoes. The precision of this instrument will be so great that NASA’s Simon Hook has said that scientists will even be able to see bonfires on beaches.
An AI robot called CIMON is also currently headed into space, as the Inquisitr report, and this important new companion will be helping scientists immensely with a multitude of different experiments and projects.
Besides the heavy scientific equipment, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is holding some quite different gear that those aboard the ISS will find extremely helpful, with a whopping 60 packets of coffee known as Death Wish headed their way, according to CNBC.
Once SpaceX’s Dragon reaches the International Space Station, it will stay firmly attached for exactly one month, after which it will head back down to Earth on August 2, taking 2,860 pounds of scientific instruments with it when it returns.