The American aerospace company, SpaceX on Monday launched its Falcon 9 rocket which is carrying around 3-tons of supplies including some advanced hardware, equipment, and RemoveDebris satellite. This was the sixth Falcon 9 of 2018 for SpaceX. This time with the rocket, SpaceX has sent an unpiloted dragon cargo ship named CRS-14. The rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Space Launch Complex 40 at around 4:30 p.m. EDT. The CRS-14 is now heading toward the International Space Station with supplies for the six-person Expedition 55 crew. As per the information, this is for the second time where a reused Falcon 9 first stage flew into space with reused Dragon capsule.
As per the sources, the Dragon capsule has around 5,836 pounds of food, hardware, and experiments. The hardware includes the Atmosphere-Space Interaction Monitor (ASIM) and the Material ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF). To lift off such heavy weight, the 213-foot-tall two-stage Falcon 9 rocket produced 1.7 million pounds of sea-level thrust using Merlin 1D engines. SpaceX started fueling the Falcon 9 with RP-1 before 70 minutes of liftoff. Then after 35 minutes of fueling SpaceX loaded liquid oxygen into the rocket.
After around nine-minute, the upper stage of the Falcon 9 deported the Dragon supply ship into the orbit and them deployed SpaceX cargo capsule. After the deployment, the Dragon spacecraft expanded the solar wings to produce energy for movement. Jessica Jensen, director of Dragon mission management at SpaceX stated, “Dragon is in a good orbit, solar arrays have deployed, and the propulsion system is operating nominally.” As per the schedule, the Dragon cargo ship will fine-tune its access to the ISS on Tuesday. On Wednesday it will perform a laser-guided rendezvous which will guide the cargo ship to captured by robotic arm nearly at 7 a.m. EDT.
As per the contract made between SpaceX and NASA, SpaceX will carry out 20 such mission by 2019 and it was the 14th cargo mission. Apart from that by 2024, SpaceX will also carry out resupply mission for Orbital ATK and Sierra Nevada Corp. SpaceX is planning to utilize reused Dragon supply capsules in its future space missions. Jensen stated, “Reusability is really important for the future of spaceflight as it’s the only way we are going to get thousands of people to space.” It will be a cost-prohibited dream.
It may be noted that, on Friday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocker using a used first stage booster. The rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying 10 communication satellites for Iridium. SpaceX is now gearing up for the next launch which will be held on 16th April. In this launch, the rocket will carry Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite for NASA into Earth’s lower orbit. The satellite will help scientists in search of Earth-sized exoplanets. It will work in the place of Kepler Space Telescope. A few days back NASA confirmed that it will soon cease functioning as it is now running out of fuel.