SpaceX delivers Dragon to the ISS for a second time
As storm clouds begin to grow to the west of the launch pad, SpaceX's launches its Falcon 9 rocket on their fourteenth mission to the International Space Station. This reused Dragon capsule was launched at 4:30pm EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida for the second time, carrying supplies and science experiments along with it. The Dragon spacecraft previously supported the CRS-8 mission back in April 2016 and will stay at the station for another month. The first stage on this rocket has been "flight-proven" and previously launched on the CRS-12 mission back in August 2017. No recovery was attempted for this first stage booster.
Dragon carried various science experiments and supplies for the astronauts in the pressurized portion of the capsule, but carried some bigger experiments in its trunk. Two of these experiments are going to be installed on the outside of the station, the Atmosphere-Space interactions Monitors (ASIM) and the Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF), as well as a Pump and Flow Control Sub-assembly replacement unit. One of the national labs payloads being flown is the RemoveDEBRIS mission, which will demonstrate the viability of removing real space debris in future missions to help clean up the orbit around the Earth. A new inkjet printer by HP will also be installed in the United States Lab on the ISS.
After a series of hundreds to thousands on burns, Dragon finally aligned itself on an approach to the space station Wednesday morning. The crew onboard used the robotic arm to capture the Dragon spacecraft, which occurred at 6:40am EDT, and was then berthed to the Harmony module at 9am EDT. After its one month stay, it'll undock from the station, deorbit, and safely splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California to be recovered by SpaceX.