SpaceX cargo mission launching to Space Station carrying experiments and supplies

Rosemary Collier
April 3, 2018

This is the 14th supply drop SpaceX has shuttled to the International Space Station on NASA's behalf, and there will be six more after it by the time SpaceX's first contract is up.

If something delays the launch, SpaceX has listed Tuesday afternoon as a backup window.

The company just launched another Falcon 9, which is traveling to the International Space Station in partnership with NASA.

The Falcon 9, flying SpaceX's seventh mission of the year, lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:30 p.m.

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"We have successful liftoff of the Falcon 9", a SpaceX commentator said after the rocket roared off with a tail of fiery exhaust from Vandenberg US Air Force base in California. It will arrive on the morning of Wednesday, April 4.

The spaceflight company SpaceX is one of several firms building private space taxis and cargo ships to launch astronauts and supplies into space.

At the International Space Station, NASA will conduct experiments that could offer data on possible innovations in a variety of fields, including medicine, agriculture, and construction.

The Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility, or MISSE-FF, will provide a platform for testing how materials, coatings, and components react in the harsh environment of space, including radiation exposure, cycles of heating and cooling, and hits by micrometeoroids.

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Edible plants growing aboard the ISS will also receive an upgrade with the new Veggie PONDS experiment, which "uses a newly developed passive nutrient delivery system ... to cultivate lettuce and mizuna greens, which are to be harvested on-orbit, and consumed, with samples returned to Earth for analysis", according to the Veggie PONDS experiment description.

Once installed, an Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor will be outside the space station to survey severe thunderstorms and monitor upper-atmosphere lightning. ASIM will focus on weird phenomena known as red sprites, blue jets and elves.

The Metabolic Tracking investigation could help develop cheaper and more effective pharmaceuticals. This research could lead to improved manufacturing techniques. The study is created to test the effects of microgravity on the synthesis and deployment of five different therapeutic compounds.

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