An uncrewed cargo capsule of SpaceX, named Dragon, carrying 3 tons of supplies and gear has arrived at the ISS. It had been in orbital chase for two days, and landed at the ISS today, April 4 at 6:40 am EDT or 10:40 am GMT.
Astronauts obtained the Dragon using the Canadarm2 robotic arm. It was launched on April 2 with a Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX on a NASA-contracted mission.
Dragon is the same space capsule that visited the ISS in April 2016. Therefore, reusage plans of SpaceX for cutting down the spaceflight expenses are at large.
ISS crewmembers will be unloading the cargo by today, which is amounting to 2630 kg or 5800 lbs. Numerous scientific experiments are included in this, one being about plant growth in space. Another interesting subject of the lot is an investigation on how bone marrow produces RBC in a microgravity environment.
Alongside the cargo, aboard the Dragon is RemoveDebris, an experimental spacecraft. It will be used by ISS to test ways to clean space junk.
According to SpaceX representatives, ISS will keep Dragon till the next month. With a load of 3900 lbs or 1800 kg, the capsule will head back home to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off Baja California. SpaceX will retrieve it by boat.
On the other hand, the Falcon 9 rocket that carried the Dragon could not be recovered. It was built to fly only twice, and SpaceX didn’t go for a first stage landing.
Representatives of the company disclosed that Block 5, the next-gen Falcon 9 is on the way and it can be used (launch and land) for 10 times! As for the Dragon 1 cargo carrier, it is certified by the company on its second launch on April 2 for three flights, as said by Jessica Jensen, Dragon mission manager of SpaceX.
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