Another dragon is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS).
SpaceX launched its 27th cargo mission under contract with NASA on Tuesday (March 14), sending its robotic Dragon capsule aloft from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT on Monday). March 15).
If all goes according to plan, the Dragon will arrive at the International Space Station on Thursday (March 16) at 7:52 AM EST (1152 GMT). You can watch this encounter live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA.
Related: Facts about SpaceX’s Dragon capsule
The newly launched mission, known as CRS-27, was the third for the private Dragon capsule and the seventh for the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket to have carried it into orbit.
This booster will probably fly again: It crash-landed for a precision landing of SpaceX’s drone ship, A Shortfall of Gravitas, about seven minutes and 45 seconds after liftoff on Tuesday.
The landing was historic for the company and for spaceflight in general.
“In an industry that was historically male-dominated, recovery operations today are managed by a female crew,” SpaceX engineer Zachary Lubin said during the CRS-27 launch webcast. “In fact, we think it’s the first all-female crew for any type of operation like this, and if it’s not the first, then we’re in great company.”
Lubin explained that this crew is responsible for operating the rescue ships and returning the Falcon 9 safely to shore.
On CRS-27, Dragon tows spacewalk equipment, vehicle hardware and other supplies, as well as about 60 new science experiments.
Among the science equipment are the two latest researches for Tissue Chips in Space, a project run by the US National Institutes of Health and the International Space Station National Laboratory.
“Both studies, Cardinal Heart 2.0 and Engineered Heart Tissues-2, use small devices containing living cells that mimic the functions of human tissues and organs to advance the development of treatments for heart failure,” according to NASA officials. wrote in an update on March 9 (Opens in a new tab).
Another science payload being developed on the CRS-27 is the HUNCH Ball Clamp Monopod, which was built by high school students in the Houston area. Agency officials said the monopod could facilitate imaging in space.
The dragon also carries food, including some rare treats for astronauts who are used to eating preserved foods from a box or bag.
“The crews asked for some fresh fruit and refrigerated cheeses,” Phil Dempsey, transportation integration manager for the International Space Station Program at NASA, said during a pre-opening press conference Monday (March 13). “So on board there are apples, berries, grapefruits, oranges [and] Cherry tomatoes, plus a few different cheeses.”
The cargo Dragon will join one of its crew-carrying cousins on the International Space Station on Thursday. The Crew Dragon Endeavor arrived at the orbiting laboratory on March 3, delivering the four astronauts from SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission for NASA. On Saturday (March 11), four astronauts from SpaceX’s Crew-5 departed the International Space Station for home aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 9:20 PM EST March 14 with news of the successful launch and rocket landing.
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