Sun. Oct 20th, 2019

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch robotic Dragon Cargo capsule [live stream]

SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon Cargo capsule to International Space Station A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the company’s robotic Dragon cargo capsule toward the International Space Station.

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Dragon CRS-17 mission cargo, due for the International Space Station. The mission was initially scheduled for April. It had been postponed several times due to a glitch.

SpaceX announced that the mission was postponed “due to an electrical issue”. If all goes according to plan, the rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 08:48 SAST on Saturday, 4 May.

This will mark the Falcon 9’s seventeenth mission to the International Space Station. The Dragon Cargo capsule will be carrying a resupply mission – some 5 500 pounds of cargo.

Fingers crossed that Falcon 9 gets off the ground on Saturday. It not, we can expect to view launch on 12 or 13 May. This is due to the previously planned weeklong stand-down of the Eastern Range at the Cape Canaveral centre.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands ready at Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in the early morning May 3, 2019. The launch vehicle will boost a Dragon cargo module to the International Space Station on the company’s 17th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-17) mission for NASA. Photo: NASA

An interesting payload

One of the pieces of equipment on board will be the Photobioreactor. It will be used to test the cultivation of micro-algae to serve as a source of both food and oxygen on the International Space Station.

In addition, the cargo will also contain lung and bone marrow chips, cartilage and bone chips, and a chip that simulates the blood-brain barrier. Astronauts will use it to monitor the reaction of simulated organs in space.

Finally, the capsule also contains the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 instrument. It will be attached to the ISS’s exterior by means of a robotic arm.

Amy Thompson from Space.com reports that scientists will use it to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide, as well as map sources and sinks of the gas.

Falcon 9 rocket: Stats for nerds

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Dragon and Falcon 9 Second Stage, post Second Stage Separation Event. Photo: NASA

The Falcon 9 rocket has in been commission since 2012, and is the Falcon Heavy’s predecessor. The Falcon 9 will carry approximately 53 000 kilograms of cargo into space throughout its lifetime.

The two-stage-to-orbit rocket has a mass of 541 300 kilograms. It can carry up to 22 800 kilograms of cargo in low Earth orbit, or up to 8 300 kilograms in geostationary transfer orbit.

Furthermore, the Falcon 9’s first stage has nine Merlin engines with a burn time of 162 seconds. In addition, the second stage has only one engine which ignites after stage separation. It has a burn time of 397 seconds.

Also read – SpaceX to attempt triple rocket landing with Falcon Heavy

Watch: Falcon 9 CRS-17 launch mission live stream

Take note, liftoff scheduled for 08:48 South African Standard Time (SAST) on Saturday 4 May.

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