SpaceX, NASA launch ?pgraded cargo Dragon spacecraft to ISS

(IANS) A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, carrying the uncrewed cargo Dragon spacecraft on its journey to the International Space Station for NASA and SpaceXs 21st commercial mission.

The upgraded Dragon spacecraft successfully separated from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, as the spacecraft continued its journey to the ISS to deliver critical supplies, equipment, and material to support multiple science and research and experiments that will take place aboard the space station.

Dragon was slated to arrive at the orbiting laboratory on Monday, NASA said in a statement.

It will autonomously dock to the station’s Harmony module – the first automated docking for a SpaceX cargo resupply mission – while NASA astronauts and Expedition 64 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Victor Glover monitor docking operations.

Dragon will deliver more than 6,400 pounds of science investigations and cargo to the orbiting laboratory. The mission marks the first launch for SpaceX under NASA’s CRS-2 contract.

The Dragon spacecraft is filled with supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 64 and 65.

In addition to bringing research to the station, the Dragon’s unpressurised trunk will transport the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock.

The first commercially funded space station airlock, the Bishop Airlock is an airtight segment used for transfer of payloads between the inside and outside of the station.

The Dragon spacecraft will spend about one month attached to the space station before it returns to Earth with research and return cargo, with splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

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