“Double Dragon”: SpaceX launches a cargo capsule for the ISS

"Double Dragon": SpaceX launches a cargo capsule for the ISS
"Double Dragon": SpaceX launches a cargo capsule for the ISS

The company SpaceX launched a new, larger version of its Dragon space truck to the International Space Station (ISS), marking the first time in the company’s history that two capsules of this model are in orbit at the same time.

This Dragon – filled with New Year’s gifts and treats to the New Year’s table – will reach the space station today, Monday, joining the Dragon, which delivered four astronauts last month.

The Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX launched with the latest Dragon capsule model from the site of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, while the number of launch personnel in connection with coronavirus was minimized. The reusable first stage – making its fourth flight – landed on the ocean platform a few minutes after the start, which took place in the late morning local time. It was this first stage in May that helped Elon Mask’s company lift its first astronaut into the air.

The cargo weighing 2,900 kilograms includes billions of microorganisms and ground samples of asteroid substances for experiments on “biomining” (extraction of resources using microbes), a new medical device for rapid blood tests of astronauts in space, as well as a private company and a camera operated by it, allowing experiments carried out in containers the size of a kitchen refrigerator, outside the station. Also on board are 40 mice for bone and eye research, since bones and eyes are human weaknesses when in space for a long time.

Also on board are New Year’s and Christmas gifts for two Russians, four Americans and one Japanese, who now make up the station’s crew. Of course, information about what kind of gifts astronauts expect is not disclosed ahead of time. For the New Year’s and Christmas table on board the Dragon is a fried turkey with corn bread filling, cranberry sauce, sand cookies and sugar glaze bottles.

The advanced Dragon model will dock with the ISS in automatic mode, while a robotic arm-manipulator was required to dock with the station of the predecessor model.

After spending about one month in docked condition, the capsule will return to Earth to make a drive in the Atlantic Ocean with a load of old equipment and the results of experiments from the orbital laboratory.

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