A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida this evening (July 14), sending an automated Dragon resupply vehicle toward the International Space Station (ISS).
The mission, known as CRS-25, lifted off tonight at 8:44 p.m. EDT (0044 GMT on July 15) from KSC’s Launch Complex 39A. two phases of Falcon 9 Separate 2.5 minutes into flight. As the second stage of the rocket propelled the Dragon into orbit, the main booster began its return to Earth, landing safely on a SpaceX A Shortfall of Gravitas drone in the Atlantic Ocean about 7.5 minutes after launch.
The the Dragon He will spend the next day and a half catching up with the International Space Station. The cargo capsule is scheduled to dock with the orbiting laboratory around 11:20 a.m. EDT (1520 GMT) on Saturday morning (July 16).
The CRS-25 was initially scheduled to launch over a month ago, but takeoff was then delayed High levels of hydrazine vapor It was discovered in part of the Dragon’s propulsion system during refueling operations. Hydrazine is used by Dragon’s Draco engines and is highly corrosive to components not designed to interact with fuel. NASA and SpaceX So he took a cautious approach, subjecting the car to extensive checks after spotting steam, which ultimately delayed the launch three times over the course of several weeks.
In a statement issued on June 28, NASA cited “ongoing Dragon space inspections as well as repair and replacement of any components that could have degraded due to exposure to monomethyl hydrazine (MMH) vapor found during testing in early June,” as the reason. for series delays. The SpaceX teams also replaced the vehicle’s main canopies in order to give the potentially affected canopy a more in-depth examination.
SpaceX’s chief human spaceflight program manager, Benjamin Reed, joined a call with the press Wednesday evening (July 13), expressing optimism about the parachutes’ initial tests. “So far, the initial results from some of the inspections are showing up, and the original parachutes look great,” Reed said. “[SpaceX] These are more likely to be used on a future mission if the team determines they are safe for use in flight.”
CRS-25 will provide more than 5,800 pounds (2,630 kilograms) of science and supplies to the space station, including equipment to support nearly 40 ongoing research endeavors. Current residents of the International Space Station can also look forward to fresh food delivery, according to ISS Deputy Program Director Dana Weigel, who joined the call on Wednesday. Weigel listed a variety of products and other items stored within the Dragon.
“We send in apples, oranges, cherry tomatoes, some onions, carrots, garlic, tahini, cheese and dry sausage,” Weigl said. “So, a great mix of fresh fruit for the crew.”
By weight, scientific equipment makes up nearly half of the total CRS-25 payload. One of the mission’s largest experiments – both in terms of physical scale and project scope – is the investigation of the source of Earth’s surface mineral dust (EMIT). The appliance tours a Dragon Box and is about the size of a kitchen oven. NASA officials said EMIT will be added to the International Space Station 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 landscapes travels on winds around the world, adding to the planet’s overall climate system in ways not yet fully understood. Measuring the minerals in these samples will help scientists better understand their composition and role in global climate, ultimately contributing to things like forecasts of weather patterns, improved crop yields and other climate research.
NASA International Space Station scientist Heidi Paris said scientists currently have access to about 5,000 such measurements. “They are looking to increase our current measurement set … to close to a billion measurements,” Paris said on Wednesday’s press call. EMIT “really has the potential to bridge the gap in our understanding of Earth’s climate models.”
Other experiments en route to the orbital lab include a biopolymer concrete probe to study the composition of building materials in microgravity Using “in situ” resources similar to lunar regolith or Martian dust. Another study, known as the Immunological Investigation, will study the effects of aging on the ability of cells to repair tissues in the body and the potential to reverse these effects in astronauts after spaceflight.
The CRS-25 – so named because it is the 25th cargo mission that SpaceX has launched for NASA – is set to remain docked at the International Space Station for 33 days. The spacecraft will return to Earth with approximately the same cargo that was sent with it. Samples and equipment from up to 50 research papers, as well as waste and other stationary lifecycle supplies in circulation, will be stored aboard Dragon before leaving the craft’s International Space Station.
The dragon will also carry home a spacesuit worn by ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer. the suit Experienced waterproofing During a spacewalk, or extravehicular activity (EVA), Maurer performed on March 23 of this year.
“This will be part of what we need to assess our final readiness when we look at returning to nominal EVA,” Weigel said on Wednesday’s call.
Both vehicles launched tonight were spaceflight veterans. CRS-25 is the third ISS cargo mission for the Dragon capsule, and the first stage of the Falcon 9 has flown five times before tonight.