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Falcon 9 launches Dragon cargo spacecraft to ISS

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Up to date eight:50 a.m. Japanese.

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the Worldwide House Station early Might four after a one-day delay attributable to a droneship downside.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from House Launch Complicated 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Pressure Station at 2:48 a.m. Japanese, putting the Dragon into orbit practically 10 minutes later. The rocket’s first stage made a touchdown on a droneship simply offshore.

The launch was beforehand scheduled for Might three, however scrubbed due to downside with the droneship. Whereas earlier launches of Dragon cargo spacecraft have made use of Touchdown Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral, this mission shifted to a droneship due to the ongoing investigation into an April 20 Crew Dragon anomaly throughout testing that passed off on the touchdown web site.

“The touchdown web site and the take a look at web site had been each shut. We wished to mainly ensure that we will concentrate on the proof and never disturb that,” Hans Koenigsmann, vp of construct and flight reliability at SpaceX, mentioned at a pre-launch briefing Might 2. He mentioned the corporate was “fairly shut” to restoring full entry to the touchdown web site.

Whereas the investigation into that incident, which destroyed the Crew Dragon spacecraft throughout a take a look at of its SuperDraco thruster system, continues, NASA proceeded with this cargo Dragon mission after the company and SpaceX discovered no proof of commonality between programs implicated within the incident and people on the cargo Dragon, which doesn’t have SuperDraco thrusters.

“We had been capable of get our arms across the frequent areas that we had to take a look at, that they’d to take a look at,” Kenny Todd, NASA’s area station operations and integration supervisor, mentioned on the pre-launch briefing. “On the finish of the day, we didn’t see any change in our total measurable threat in going into the mission.”

This cargo Dragon, which first flew to the station on the CRS-12 mission in August 2017, is carrying 2,482 kilograms of cargo on this mission, designated CRS-17. That cargo consists of about 1,700 kilograms of science payloads, with the remainder dedicated to crew provides and car . The Dragon is scheduled to berth with the ISS Might 6.

Whereas the Dragon on this mission has beforehand flown to the station, the Falcon 9 first stage was new, as was the case with the earlier Dragon mission, CRS-16, in December 2018. NASA has beforehand launched Dragon missions on “flight-proven” Falcon 9 rockets, however Todd mentioned on the pre-launch briefing NASA hasn’t intentionally switched again to utilizing new automobiles as a substitute. “From my perspective there’s nothing’s that modified,” he mentioned. At a briefing after the launch Might four, he famous NASA had a “vested curiosity” in ensuring SpaceX might get well this booster since company plans to apply it to the subsequent two Dragon cargo missions.

Koenigsmann cited the change in notion in the previous few years as using flight-proven boosters has gone from a novelty to a routine a part of SpaceX operations. “It’s attention-grabbing how the pondering modified total,” he mentioned previous to launch. As for this mission, he mentioned, “Each every now and then we want new boosters.”

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