CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. — SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday afternoon on a mission to resupply the International Space Station.
- Dragon spacecraft contains cargo, supplies for ISS crew
- Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 12:29 p.m. ET under clear skies
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The first attempt Wednesday was pushed back because of high upper-level winds and rough seas for the drone ship where the first-stage booster will attempt to land.
The Falcon 9 rocket is carrying a Dragon spacecraft loaded with 5,700 pounds of supplies and science experiments to the ISS.
The Dragon capsule is expected to arrive at the ISS on Sunday. Supplies for the six-member ISS crew include spare parts, tools, and more.
Some of the science experiments will explore how fire behaves in space and beer-brewing in microgravity with barley seeds.
Also, 40 mice are aboard, some of them genetically engineered. The mice will be tested to see how muscles and bone loss could affect future astronauts. Bone and muscle loss is a big issue for astronauts in microgravity.
“Researchers are really able to take advantage of this unique environment to see if we can create better drugs, better therapeutics for astronauts on the space station as well as patients here on Earth," says Patrick O'Neill, of the ISS U.S. National Laboratory.
Each mouse will be brought back alive when the capsule comes back and splashes down in the Pacific Ocean early next year.
Also aboard the Dragon is a Japanese camera that will snap high-resolution pictures of Earth.
And Santa may have stowed away some Christmas gifts for the astronauts on board.
The Dragon spacecraft supporting this mission previously flew in support of our fourth and eleventh commercial resupply missions pic.twitter.com/P6ceGX9Pz1— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 26, 2019
It will be the third trip to the orbiting outpost for this particular spacecraft.
SpaceX is also planning to conduct a thermal test of its second stage once it releases Dragon to the proper orbit. SpaceX won't say much about it other than it's a demonstration for some of the company's clients.
Because of that test, the first-stage booster won't have enough fuel to return to a landing pad. So the company landed the booster on its drone ship about 212 miles in the Atlantic, off the coast of Jacksonville.