LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) – Hawthorne-based SpaceX delivered a shipment to the International Space Station Wednesday containing a bonanza of science experiments.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up following a two-day flight from Cape Canaveral. NASA astronaut Jack Fischer used the space station’s hefty robot arm to grab the Dragon 250 miles above the Pacific, near New Zealand.READ MORE: Día De Los Muertos Celebrations and Others Return To LA
It was 13th supply shipment by SpaceX.
The Dragon holds three tons of cargo, mostly research. The extra-large science load includes a cosmic ray monitor, a mini satellite with cheap, off-the-shelf scopes for potential military viewing, and 20 mice for an eye and brain study.
Lucky for the station’s six-person crew, a big variety of ice cream is also stashed away in freezers, including birthday cake flavor. U.S. astronaut Randolph Bresnik turns 50 next month.
“Congratulations on a job well done,” Mission Control radioed from Houston. “You guys have just won yourselves some fresh food.”
“The crew stands ready to rock the science like a boss,” Fischer said, giving a rundown on the research inside the Dragon’s “belly.”
It’s enough for more than 250 experiments in the coming months, he noted. The
“Need to get back to work. We’ve got a Dragon to unload,” Fischer told Mission Control.READ MORE: Sigma Nu Fraternity At USC Suspends Member At Center Of Sexual Assault Allegations
SpaceX is one of NASA’s two prime shippers for station supplies. Orbital ATK is the other; its next delivery is in November from Wallops Island, Virginia. The two companies have taken over the cargo hauls formerly handled by NASA’s now retired space shuttles.
On July 3, SpaceX’s first-ever recycled Dragon capsule successfully returned from a supply mission to the ISS, splashing safely down in the Pacific Ocean.
After being released by the space station’s robotic arm, the capsule completed a 5½-hour journey back to Earth carrying 4,100 pounds of precious cargo.
The Dragon spaceship was launched into orbit in early June and spent 28 days docked to the ISS, delivering several thousand pounds of scientific experiments and equipment.
The mission marked the first re-flight of a Dragon capsule that had already flown to space once before. The capsule previously flew a mission in September-October 2014.
SpaceX has also become an expert at recovering and reusing its Falcon 9 rockets. The recoveries are seen as a major cost-cutting evolution in space flight, allowing the re-use of the multimillion-dollar rockets, instead of allowing them to burn up on reentry and fall into the ocean.
The rockets have been recovered multiple times on either the barge, known as a drone ship, or on land back at Cape Canaveral.MORE NEWS: USC Places Sigma Nu Fraternity On Interim Suspension After Reports Of 'Possible Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assaults,' Students Protest In Support Of Victims
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