SpaceX Rocket Blasts Off To Resupply International Space Station
by Corey Hjalseth, KHQ Local News Contributor - email
FOXNews.com - CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.
SpaceX's Falcon rocket launched Friday at 10:10 a.m. ET from Cape
Canaveral on a resupply run to the International Space Station.
The unmanned rocket is owned by the SpaceX company, and carried the
company's Dragon capsule filled with more than a ton of space station
supplies and experiments -- rather than the chocolate-vanilla swirl ice
cream carried aboard a previous mission. This time, Dragon's freezers
are going up filled with mouse stem cells, protein crystals and other
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said snacks straight from the orchard
of an employee's father are on board -- and not just apples.
It's a little bit healthier, I think, than the one that NASA sent last time," she told reporters on the eve of the flight.
This will be the third space station visit for SpaceX, or more
formally Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the creation of Elon Musk
of PayPal and Tesla electric carmaker fame.
NASA is paying the company to supply the orbiting lab; the contract is worth $1.6 billion for 12 delivery runs.
The Dragon should arrive at the space station on Saturday morning.
The six-member station crew will use the station's robot arm to grab the
Dragon and attach it to the orbiting complex.
A variety of plant life is going up, including 640 seeds of mouse-ear
cress, a small flowering weed used in research. Other experiments
involve paint; high school students want to see how it will adhere and
dry in space.
Russia, Europe and Japan also provide delivery services to the space
station, but none of those cargo craft can return goods like the SpaceX
Dragon. This latest Dragon will spend more than three weeks at the space
station before departing and parachuting into the Pacific with a full
load of medical specimens, fish, plants and old equipment.
NASA's shuttles used to be the main haulers up and down, but retired two years ago.
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