Photo: Richard Angle
Last night at 6:01 PM EST SpaceX successfully launched the 18th resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station. After two reschedules, a Dragon capsule on board a Falcon 9 rocket was finally able to launch. In two days the capsule will dock, and along with the usual supplies for the astronauts there are several experiments to be conducted using space’s harsh conditions, as well as microgravity.
The weather leading up to today’s launch has been less than ideal. With a tropical depression passing through the state of Florida, it has been hard to find an opportune time for the Falcon 9 to liftoff.
The first stage of this mission’s Falcon 9 was also flown on the CRS 17 mission in May. The difference between that launch and tonight’s launch is that CRS 17 landed on SpaceX’s drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You, whereas CRS 18 landed back at Landing Zone 1. However, SpaceX tweeted that this is actually the third time this specific Dragon cargo capsule has flown (April 2015 and December 2017).
On board this mission is also the International Docking Adapter, or IDA-3. This is the third adapter developed by Boeing to be used at the International Space Station for Boeing and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon as a secondary place to dock to the ISS. Bill Spetch, the deputy manager of the International Space Station Transportation Office, said “It’s an important piece of hardware for the future of ISS, as it sets the stage for how we are going to operate with Commercial Crew vehicles and our partners in the future”.
Visit yesterday’s article to learn more about some of the experiments on board this mission and the awesome steps we are taking in our future!