SpaceX resumes service to ISS after 10 months

8 Apr

In the five years that SpaceX has been flying re-supply missions to the ISS (international space station) their cargo has included food, water, experiments, and items to make repairs. On Friday’s scheduled mission will be the one item that the Dragon has never carried and that is an entire module. This will be the first expansion module mission to the Space Station since the shuttle program end in 2011.

As long as every checks out the mission is schedule to launch from launch center 40 at Cape Canaveral Airforce Base in Florida at 4:43 pm EDT (1:43 pm PDT). According to United States Airforce weather forecaster Kathy Winters weather conditions should not be a problem for either he launch or the attempted landing of the Falcon rocket. It’ll be a great day to launch a rocket,” she told reporters at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

There will be other supplies including crew supplies and science experiments but the big ticket item on the mission is the 3,000 pound (1.400 KG) Bigelow Expansion Activity Module (BEAM). During transport the BEAM will be compressed to 5.7 ft. (1.7m) long and 7.75 ft. (2.36m) in diameter. When it is attached to the ISS it will be inflated over the next 4 months to expand to its full dimensions of 13 ft. (4m) long and 10.5 ft. (3.2m) in diameter.

This type of architecture has never been flown before. … We’re not 100 percent sure of its behavior,” Robert Bigelow said today about his company’s collapsible module. “It is a testing station. That is the whole point here.”

Once again SpaceX will attempt to land the booster stage of the Falcon rocket on a drone ship. On past missions when they have attempted this feat the California-based SpaceX faced setback after setback. This time with calm weather and several improvements to the rocket should give them a better chance for success.

For those wishing to view the event there will be a live feed beginning at 3:30 pm EDT. As usual on these live NASA feeds they will not only show the launch but go through details about the craft, mission, and other pertinent information.

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