SpaceX Launches Dragon Cargo Capsule To Space Station

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Cape Canaveral: The Elon Musk-led company, SpaceX, today launched the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. A recycled Falcon rocket blasted off early Sunday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

After hoisting the Dragon capsule, the first-stage booster landed upright on SpaceX’s newest ocean platform. The capsule should arrive at the orbiting lab Monday.

The Dragon is carrying more than 4,800 pounds (2,170 kilogrammes) of supplies and experiments, and fresh food including avocados, lemons and even ice cream for the space station’s seven astronauts.

The Girl Scouts are sending up ants, brine shrimp and plants as test subjects, while University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists are flying up seeds from mouse-ear cress, a small flowering weed used in genetic research. Samples of concrete, solar cells and other materials also will be subjected to weightlessness.

A Japanese start-up company’s experimental robotic arm, meanwhile, will attempt to screw items together in its orbital debut and perform other mundane chores normally done by astronauts. The first tests will be done inside the space station. Future models of Gitai Inc.’s robot will venture out into the vacuum of space to practice satellite and other repair jobs, said chief technology officer Toyotaka Kozuki.

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