This long-exposure image shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching on a NASA refueling mission to International Space Station Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, seen from Merritt Island, Florida, on Sunday. (Malcolm Denmark, Florida today via AP)
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – A cargo of SpaceX ants, an avocado and a human-sized robotic arm took off toward the International Space Station on Sunday.
The delivery – scheduled to arrive on Monday – is the company’s 23rd to NASA in just under a decade.
A recycled Falcon rocket blasted off into the pre-dawn sky from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. After the Dragon capsule was lifted, the first stage of the booster landed vertically on SpaceX’s latest ocean platform, called “A Shortfall of Gravitas”. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has continued his tradition of naming improved recovery ships after the late science fiction writer Ian Banks and his Culture series.
The Dragon is carrying more than 4,800 pounds (2,170 kg) of supplies, experiments, fresh foods including avocados, lemons, and even ice cream for the seven astronauts on the space station.
Girl Scouts send out ants, brine shrimp, and plants as guinea pigs, while scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison sow the seeds of watercress, a small flowering herb used in genetic research. Samples of concrete, solar cells and other materials will also be subject to weightlessness.
Meanwhile, the experimental robotic arm of a Japanese startup company will attempt to connect the elements in its orbital start and perform other routine work that astronauts normally perform. The first tests will be conducted inside the space station. Future models from Gitai Inc. You will go out into the void of space to do satellite work and other repairs.
He added that as early as 2025, a combination of these weapons could help build bases on the Moon and mine the Moon for valuable resources.
SpaceX had to leave some experiments behind due to delays caused by COVID-19.
It was the second launch attempt. Bad weather frustrated Saturday show.
NASA turned to SpaceX and other US companies to deliver payloads and crews to the space station once the space shuttle program ended in 2011.
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