Monday, 01 June, 2020


Giant robotic arm catches SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft

David Saint-Jacques Giant robotic arm catches SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft
Kristine Garrett | 08 May, 2019, 20:27

After a rare power issue discovered at the last minute on the Dragon cargo capsule a few days ago while preparing to launch, the take-off was delayed until Saturday, May 4th.

A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft effectively advanced toward the International Space Station (ISS), with around 5,500 lbs of NASA cargo and science experiments.

"Welcome on board, Dragon", Saint-Jacques radioed. Speaking in both English and French, he congratulated ground teams for their help and said he's proud every time the station's 58-foot (18-meter) Canadian robot arm is used in orbit.

The Dragon has delivered more than 2.5 tonnes of cargoes to the orbital station: food, equipment and materials for carrying out several dozen scientific experiments planned for the space expedition 59/60, including the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 and the Space Test Program-Houston 6 *(STP-H6).

Another part of the cargo aboard the Dragon capsule is 1.2 million tomato seeds heading to space as part of the Tomatosphere educational project.

According to NASA, the four experiments will study how microgravity suppresses the immune system; how potential drugs can prevent the onset of Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis caused by traumatic bone injuries that is common in astronauts; how space travel affects the brain blood barrier and, therefore, brain function; and how microgravity, altered diet and other aspects of space travel impact kidney health.

It was the 17th such mission for the space company's Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. SpaceX's spacecraft is one of six spaceships now docked with the ISS, joining Russia's Progress 71 and 72 resupply ships, the Soyuz MS-11 and MS-12 crew ships, and the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter. The Dragon is the only cargo ship able to return to Earth in one piece.

Its crew includes six astronauts: three Americans, a Canadian, a Russian and one from Turkmenistan.

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