SpaceX Scheduled To Launch Cargo Mission From Cape Canaveral

Musk aims to make rockets as reusable as commercial aeroplanes bringing down the cost of spaceflight and boosting efficiency

Lifted by the company's Falcon 9 rocket, the unmanned Dragon spacecraft blasted off on schedule from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:30 p.m. EDT. The Falcon 9 and Dragon, both making their second flight, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

According to SpaceX, its live video of the CRS-14 resupply mission will start roughly 20 minutes before the Falcon 9 takes off. The mission's Falcon 9 first-stage rocket was previously used on the CRS-12 mission in August 2017. The Dragon capsule previously flew on a round-trip mission to the space station in April and May of 2016. And the charming Robonaut, a humanoid robot that can handle tools, will be brought back to Earth for repairs and return to the ISS later. Expedition 55/56 crewmembers will therefore have about a month to unload and repack the Dragon before its scheduled departure. Included among the science-related cargo is an experiment created to study severe thunderstorms on Earth.

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The NASA Sample Cartridge Assembly, also known as the MSL SCA-GEDS-German experiment, is aimed at determining the scientific principles for a fabrication process known as liquid phase sintering. "ASIM advances understanding of the effect of thunderstorms on Earth's atmosphere, helping to improve atmospheric models and meteorological and climatological predictions", NASA officials said in the statement. The research will help scientists understand why and how these phenomena happen. The technology can be used to 3-D print metal parts, but it's trickier to do in zero gravity than it is on Earth. The experiment, called the Veggie Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (Veggie PONDS), will test a machine that gives nutrients to lettuce and mizuna greens for harvest and consumption in orbit.

It won't be SpaceX's first time using a recycled rocket in a resupply mission. The ultimate promise of these tests, if successful, is to allow SpaceX the option of recovering boosters during missions with heavier payloads and higher orbits.

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