SpaceX’s Dragon Cargo Capsule Finally Docked at International Space Station

 

Two days into the flight, SpaceX’s Dragon Cargo Capsule finally docked at the International Space Station. The cargo is scheduled to return in May bringing back a host of results of a multitude of scientific experiments. 

Dragon Cargo carried 5800 pounds of supplies during its flight that includes research materials and crew supplies.  It also carried a launch and return hardware for International Space Station. The successful docking of Dragon Cargo marked the 14th mission of SpaceX that NASA contracted them to carry out.  

SpaceX launched Dragon Cargo from Cape Canaveral in Florida Monday evening.  When ISS crew unloaded the supplies of the Cargo, the residents will get an upgraded printer, a controller for the CO2 scrubber, and some components for an external HD camera. 

The controller is an important supply as the CO2 scrubber is what allows the astronauts in ISS to breathe. Together with supplies, the Dragon Cargo also carried with it an additional research for International Space Station. 

The new research is a metabolic tracking investigation meant to assess the function of pharmaceutical drugs in microgravity. This investigation could help to find out if drugs work differently when in microgravity environments. The study could inform scientists on Earth how to develop cheaper, more powerful medicines. 

In addition to supplies and components, the Cargo also delivered a Multi-Use Variable-g Platform (MVP). This is capable of hosting 12 separate experiment modules. Dragon will remain in ISS until May. When it returns, it will bring with it 3500 pounds of crew supplies, hardware, and results of research. 

It will be bringing back the station’s broken plumbing system along with the results of a multitude of scientific experiments. With SpaceX’s latest mission, the company has now flown over 50 flights using its reusable Falcon 9 rockets. 

The rocket’s first test launch was 2010. Since then, it has received five upgrades. Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder said that the rocket’s final improvements would be this April 2018. When it finally returns, the capsule will maneuver and drop in the Pacific Ocean just off Baja California. A staff from SpaceX will then recover it by boat.

The Falcon 9 used in launching Dragon Caro was not recovered. However, this version of Falcon 9 was not intended to fly for more than twice. SpaceX representatives said that Block 5, the next-gen Falcon 9, would have the capacity to launch and land for about 10 times at the very least.