at 4:10pm EDT yesterday, the SpaceX CRS-6 mission took off. While Dragon has been successfully launched on its way to ISS, the Falcon 9 rocket crashed again attempting to land on drone ship.
The SpaceX CRS-6 mission launched yesterday at 4:10pm EDT from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The mission is a success so far as Dragon is en route to ISS, where it is accepted to arrive on Friday.
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Dragon is expected to return to Earth approximately five weeks later for a parachute - assisted splashdown off the coast of southern California. Dragon is the only operational spacecraft capable of returning a significant amount of supplies back to Earth, including experiments.
SpaceX also attempted again to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship. This is was again the most exciting moment of the mission and the video footage of the landing is dramatic. About 9 minutes after launch the first Stage of Falcon 9 hit the drone ship, but with too much velocity and it fell over as it was not landing straight. As seen in the photo above the approach looked very promising.
Elon Musk said from the beginning that there is only a 50:50 chance to be able to land the Falcon 9 on a ship to reuse it again and save cost.
Watch below the video of the Falcon 9 landing scene. A more detailed video will be available in the next couple of days.
The Dragon spacecraft will be filled with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to support about 40 of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 43 and 44.
Science payloads being transported will investigate new ways to possibly counteract the microgravity - induced cell damage , including to the most common cells in bones, seen during spaceflight, gather new insight that could lead to treatments for osteoporosis is and muscle wasting conditions, continue studies into astronaut vision changes and test a new material that could one day be used as a synthetic muscle for robotics explorers of the future. One science payload will support an investigation on the vision changes that more than half of American astronauts experience during and after long duration spaceflight.
It is hypothesized that the headward fluid shift that occurs during space flight leads to increased pressure in the brain, which may push on the back of the eye, causing it to change shape. The study will measure how much fluid shifts from the lower body to the upper body, in or out of cells and blood vessels, and determine the impact these shifts have on fluid pressure in the head, changes in vision and eye structures.
After five weeks at the space station, the spacecraft will return with over 3,000 pounds of cargo and packaging, including crew supplies, hardware and computer resources, science experiments, space station hardware and trash.
Today's SpaceX mission marks the half-way mark of the CRS contract with NASA. The 2009 started contract is for 12 missions to the ISS.
The NASA television coverage of the SpaceX launch will begin Monday at 3:30 p.m.