Liftoff! Dragon Safely on Its Way To Space Station for NASA’s SpaceX Mission

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the company’s Dragon spacecraft, will lift off from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Thursday, November 9. Credit: NASA

SpaceX‘s Dragon has launched on a resupply mission to the ISS, carrying scientific experiments, crew supplies, and a variety of food items.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft – carrying approximately 6,500 pounds of critical science, hardware and crew supplies – is on its way to International Space Station after a successful launch of NASA‘s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at 8:28 p.m EAST on Thursday, Nov. 9, the start of the Dragon spacecraft’s approximately 33-hour journey to the ISS for NASA.

The mission SpaceX’s 29th resupply mission for NASA to the orbiting laboratory. It also marks the ninth flight of the Commercial Resupply Services-2 SpaceX contract and the second flight of this Dragon, which previously flew on NASA’s SpaceX 26th resupply services mission.

NASA SpaceX CRS 29 Commercial Resupply Mission First Stage Separation

The first stage separates from the vehicle during the launch of NASA SpaceX’s 29th Commercial Delivery Service on Thursday, November 9, 2023. Credit: NASA

Dragon is now safely in orbit and its solar panels have been turned off. A series of thrusters will help Dragon reach the space station on Saturday, November 11 at approximately 5:20 am. Upon arrival, it will autonomously dock in the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module, with NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara overseeing operations.

NASA sends important science to the space station

The mission will transport scientific research, technology demonstrations, crew supplies and hardware to the International Space Station in support of the Expedition 70 crew, including NASA’s ILLUMA-T (Integrated Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Low Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal) and AWE (Atmospheric Wave Experiment) .

  • Once installed on the outside of the station, ILLUMA-T aims to test high data rate laser communications from the space station to Earth. The system uses invisible infrared light to send and receive information at higher data rates than traditional radio frequency systems. Working together, ILLUMA-T and the agency’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration, currently in orbit, will complete NASA’s first two-way laser communications relay system.
  • AWE will also be installed on the outside of the station and will use an infrared imaging instrument to measure the characteristics, distribution and motion of atmospheric gravity waves, which roll through Earth’s atmosphere when the air is disturbed. Researchers are also looking at how these waves contribute to space weather, which affects communications, navigation and tracking systems in space and on the ground. A better understanding of atmospheric gravitational waves could improve the understanding of Earth’s atmosphere, weather and climate and the development of ways to mitigate the effects of space weather.
NASA SpaceX CRS 29 Commercial pre-launch resupply mission

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is packed with more than 6,500 pounds of science, equipment and supplies bound for the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Food launched on NASA’s SpaceX CRS-29 mission

Hey, it’s not all science, technology and research. The crew aboard the International Space Station needs to eat too! Here is a list of foods launching during NASA’s SpaceX 29th Commercial Resupply Services mission:

  • 1 fresh food package, including citrus fruits, apples, cherry tomatoes and other items
  • 2 cheese cold storage sets including Parmesan, Romano, Cheddar, Asiago and Gruyere
  • 1 holiday bulk bag, including Christmas treats such as chocolate, pumpkin spice cappuccino, rice waffle, mochi, turkey, duck, quail, seafood and cranberry sauce
  • 1 shelf stable food set, including pizza sets, hummus, salsa and olives
  • 99 bulk packing bags with standard menu and crew preferences

The spacecraft is expected to spend about a month at the orbiting laboratory before returning to Earth with research and about 3,800 pounds of return payload, crashing off the coast of Florida.

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