Launched this evening (July 14) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is sending a robotic Dragon resupply vehicle towards the International Space Station (ISS).
The mission, known as CRS-25, lifted off from KSC’s Launch Complex 39A at 20:44 EDT tonight (July 15, 0044 GMT). Two phases of work Falcon 9 It took 2.5 minutes to fly. As the rocket’s second stage pushed Dragon into orbit, the main booster began its return to Earth by landing safely on SpaceX’s A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship in the Atlantic Ocean about 7.5 minutes after launch.
this Dragon will spend the next day and a half catching up to the ISS. The cargo capsule is scheduled to dock at the orbiting laboratory around 11:20 am EDT (1520 GMT) on Saturday, July 16.
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The CRS-25 was originally scheduled to launch more than a month ago, but takeoff was later delayed high level of hydrazine vapor detected in part of Dragon’s propulsion system during refueling. Hydrazine is used by Dragon’s Draco thrusters and is highly corrosive to components not designed to interact with fuel. NASA and Space X therefore, it took a cautious approach by thoroughly examining the vehicle after its vapor detection and eventually pushing the launch back three times in a matter of weeks.
In a statement released June 28, NASA cited “repair and replacement of any component that could degrade by exposure to mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH) vapor found during testing in early June, as well as ongoing Dragon spacecraft inspections.” for the sequence of delays. SpaceX teams also replaced the vehicle’s main parachutes to further examine the potentially affected parachute.
Benjamin Reed, senior director of SpaceX’s manned spaceflight program, attended a press conference on Wednesday evening, July 13, and expressed his optimism for the pretests that the parachutes had passed. “So far, the first results of some inspections are coming in, and the original parachutes look great,” Reed said. Said. “[SpaceX] If the team determines they are safe to use for flight, they will likely use them on a future mission,” he added.
CRS-25 will deliver over 5,800 pounds (2,630 kilograms) of science and supplies to the space station, including equipment supporting nearly 40 ongoing research investigations. Current ISS residents can also look forward to fresh food delivery, according to Dana Weigel, ISS deputy program director, who attended Wednesday’s call. Weigel listed various items and other items stored in Dragon.
“We ship apples, oranges, cherry tomatoes, some onions, baby carrots, garlic, tahini, cheese, and dried sausage,” Weigel said. “So, it’s a really nice mix of fresh fruit for the crew.”
By weight, science equipment makes up roughly half of the CRS-25’s total payload. One of the mission’s major experiments – both on the physical scale and within the scope of the project – is the Earth’s Surface Mineral Dust Resource Survey (EMIT). The device takes a tour of the Dragon’s trunk and is about the size of a kitchen oven. NASA officials said EMIT will be attached to the ISS as an external payload and will be used to measure the mineral composition of dust in the driest regions of the planet.
EMIT will focus on how dust from some of Earth’s arid lands is carried by winds around the globe, contributing to the planet’s overall climate system in ways that are not yet fully understood. Measuring minerals in these samples will help scientists better understand their composition and role in global climate, and ultimately contribute to things like weather forecasts, improved crop yields and other climate research.
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NASA’s assistant ISS scientist Heidi Parris said scientists currently have access to about 5,000 such measurements. “They want to increase our current set of measurements to close to 1 billion measurements,” Parris said at Wednesday’s press conference. Said. EMIT “has the potential to truly bridge the gap in our understanding of Earth climate models.”
Other experiments on the way to the orbital lab include a biopolymer concrete investigation to study the formation of building material. microgravity Using “in situ” resources comparable to lunar regolith or Martian dust. Another study, known as immune aging research, will examine the effects of aging on cells’ ability to repair tissues in the body and the possibility of reversing these effects in post-spaceflight astronauts.
CRS-25 – so named because it is SpaceX’s 25th cargo mission launched for NASA – it is scheduled to remain moored on the ISS for 33 days. The spacecraft will return to Earth with as much cargo as it was sent. Samples and equipment from up to 50 research investigations, as well as waste and other circulating station lifecycle materials, will be placed aboard the Dragon before the vehicle leaves the ISS.
Dragon will also take home a spacesuit worn by European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer. suite suffered a water leak During a spacewalk or extravehicular activity (EVA) that Maurer did on March 23 this year.
“As we look back to nominal EVAs, that will be part of what we need for our evaluation for our final readiness,” Weigel said on Wednesday’s call. Said.
The vehicles launched tonight were both spaceflight veterans. CRS-25 is this Dragon capsule’s third ISS cargo mission and Falcon 9’s first stage had flown five times before tonight.
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