SpaceX launches Cargo Dragon to ISS, Catches Booster on the New Ship for the First Time

The Cargo Dragon spacecraft being launched by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket toward the International Space Station.

FREMONT, CA: SpaceX has successfully launched a Cargo Dragon resupply ship to the International Space Station (ISS), where it will bring research experiments as well as consumables to the astronauts. The Dragon was launched with a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, August 29, following a one-day delay due to bad weather.

The Dragon will now fly to the space station throughout Sunday before arriving on Monday, August 30, at about 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT). It is SpaceX's 23rd resupply mission to the International Space Station.

NASA's most recent update on the Dragon's progress verified that the nosecone was open and that the spacecraft had entered orbit and was on its route to the space station: “Dragon’s nosecone is open, and the spacecraft is safely in orbit following a launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:14 a.m. EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying more than 4,800 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the International Space Station.”

The capture of the first stage rocket by SpaceX's new droneship was a significant success of this flight. The booster is only required for the first launch stage when it fuels the arduous rise through the atmosphere against gravity. When the rocket reaches a particular altitude, the booster is no longer required and falls back to Earth. SpaceX has mastered collecting and recycling these boosters after a launch, which should reduce the cost of space missions in the long term. The business just launched A Shortfall of Gravitas, their newest droneship for capturing boosters, making its maiden capture yesterday.

When the Dragon arrives at the ISS, it will connect with the Harmony module autonomously, attaching to the forward-facing port. Two members of the ISS crew, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, will be in charge of the docking. People can watch the docking live on NASA TV, which will begin broadcasting at 9:30 a.m. ET (6:30 a.m. PT) on Monday.

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