SpaceX launched a load of supplies to the International Space Station on Saturday following a pair of unusual power delays, and a Canadian astronaut is now waiting to seize it when it arrives.
The Falcon rocket raced into the dark before dawn on Saturday, carrying a Dragon capsule with about 2,500 kilograms of goods. This Dragon, which is being recycled – is making her second space voyage – supposed to reach the lab that rotates early on Monday.
That's when the Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will be put on duty, working with Canadarm 2 to perform his first “cosmic capture” movement, backed by astronaut NickA, Nick Hague.
“We're ready to catch up with # Canadarm2 on Monday!,” Tweeted Saint-Jacques.
This latest cargo of the Dragon – marks the company's 17 loads – carrying equipment and experiments for the six space station astronauts, including a tool to monitor carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere.
Another part of the cargo on the Dragon Dragon table is 1.2 million tomato seeds going to space as part of the Tomatosphere educational project.
The Canadian Space Agency states, in a statement, that the seeds will return to Earth a month later, along with blood and breath samples for a Canadian health probe to the impact of living in space on the astronaut's bone marrow.
SpaceX has been restocking the station since 2012.
The Saturday launch went smoothly, with the reinforcement breaking into a smooth wharf on a little restoring ship at sea.
The presentation was a few days late because of a shortage of electrical power that first arose at the space station, then in the SpaceX rocket landing platform in the Atlantic. Both problems were quickly resolved with equipment replacements: a power switching unit in orbit and an offshore generator.
SpaceX could not resist the Star Star Day connection – Saturday is 4 May.
“Dragon is now on the way to the space station officially,” announced a SpaceX launch commentator after the capsule reached orbit and its solar wings. “Until the next time, the Fourth will be with you.”
With files of Associated Press.