Commercial space company SpaceX completed yet another special delivery to the astronauts inhabiting the International Space Station on Monday. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from a launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida this afternoon and marked SpaceX’s seventh launch of 2018.
Image Credit: SpaceX/Twitter
Unlike most resupply missions, this one was particularly noteworthy. SpaceX used both a refurbished Falcon 9 rocket and refurbished Dragon cargo ship to achieve its goal. It’s only the second time in the company’s history that they’ve pulled this stunt off, and it helped slash launch costs considerably.
Citing a statement released by SpaceX, the refurbished Dragon cargo capsule contained approximately 5,800 pounds worth of supplies. Those included fresh food and water, science experiments, and hardware that would be installed outside of the International Space Station for future scientific research.
NASA said on Sunday that some of this equipment would help scientists study weather on Earth, advance humankind’s knowledge of space gardening, and help astronauts put a cap on contaminants in space, among other things.
As for the Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX opted not to land it for refurbishing. Instead, it took part in something called an ‘expendable’ mission, in which it would be used and discarded afterward.
Just like with most SpaceX rocket launches, the company live-streamed Monday’s event via its YouTube channel for the public’s viewing pleasure. If you missed it and would like to see how it went, then you can watch the full recording below:
The cargo capsule should arrive at the International Space Station by Wednesday. When it gets there, astronauts will attempt to capture it with the Earth-orbiting space lab's robotic arm, which has been the center of attention throughout several recent spacewalks.
It should be interesting to see what SpaceX has planned for its next launch…