SpaceX is about to send a second Dragon capsule to the space station

This morning, SpaceX is about to launch its newest batch of cargo and provides to the Worldwide Area Station, however the firm is utilizing a barely completely different spacecraft for this flight than resupply missions of the previous. SpaceX is flying its newly upgraded Dragon capsule to move the products to house — the identical car that the corporate has been utilizing to fly astronauts to the station.

SpaceX has been resupplying the house station since 2012, and for all of its 20 earlier missions, the corporate has used the unique model of its Dragon cargo capsule. SpaceX began creating a brand new Dragon capsule, although, to move folks to and from the ISS. Known as Crew Dragon — or Dragon 2 — the vehicle carried its first crew to space in May. With the brand new model operational, SpaceX determined to discontinue the usage of its previous Dragon capsule and use the upgraded model to hold each crew and cargo.

The Dragon 2 capsule sports activities a variety of upgrades over its predecessor; SpaceX says it could actually carry 50 percent more science payloads. The brand new Dragon can be able to routinely docking with the house station. The earlier model needed to be berthed: it might slowly strategy the ISS, whereas a crew member on board the station would use a robotic arm to seize the incoming capsule and transfer it onto an open docking port. Dragon 2 doesn’t want any assist from people to dock and fix itself to the ISS.

This mission will deliver provides for the station and astronauts, and can be bringing a number of experiments to the ISS. They embrace the European Area Company’s Bioasteroid, which can take a look at how biomining— the method of utilizing microorganisms to extract parts from rocks— is affected by microgravity. The mission additionally may have the primary COVID-19 drug research experiment in house on board, to attempt to enhance the effectivity of antiviral drug remdesivir. Additionally on board might be Nanorocks’ commercial airlock module— mainly a big metallic cup that attaches to the outside of the ISS— designed to get payloads and different supplies from contained in the pressurized setting of the ISS out into house.

As soon as this capsule reaches the house station, it gained’t be the one Dragon hooked up to the ISS. On November fifteenth, SpaceX launched a crew of 4 to the ISS on one other Dragon capsule, which docked with the station a day later. Which means there might be two Dragons docked on the ISS after this flight will get off the bottom. “It’ll be the primary time that there are two Dragons on the house station concurrently,” Sarah Walker, the director of Dragon mission administration at SpaceX, stated throughout a press convention forward of the flight. “And it actually ushers in a season of steady Dragon presence for the close to future, at the very least by the tip of 2021.”

The mission was rescheduled on account of climate considerations however is now slated to launch at 11:17AM ET from Kennedy Area Middle in Florida. SpaceX is utilizing one in all its used Falcon 9 rockets for the mission, a car that’s flown thrice earlier than. The truth is, it’s the identical rocket that launched SpaceX’s first crew of two the station in Might. After the flight, the Falcon 9 will try to land on one in all SpaceX’s drone ships within the Atlantic. The Dragon capsule is predicted to dock with the ISS on December seventh. You possibly can watch the launch live on SpaceX’s website here.

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