SpaceX's fifth commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station is to launch Tuesday at 6:20 a.m. EST. The launch will be the first attempted by an American company since the Orbital Sciences rocket explosion on Oct. 28, 2014. NASA will broadcast a launch live stream beginning at 5 a.m., while SpaceX's live stream begins at 6 a.m. The Dragon spacecraft will carry more than 5, 000 pounds of cargo and scientific instruments to the space station. Many of the science experiments being flown to the space station were developed by students who lost their investigations in the fire in October.
"I try to teach students, when I speak to them, not to be afraid of failure. An elementary school student once told me, when I asked for a definition of success, that ‘Success is taking failure and turning it inside out.’ It is important that we rebound, learn from these events and try again - and that's a great lesson for students, " NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. The 18 teams of students, as part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, had to recreate their scientific investigations within two months in order to be ready for Tuesday's launch.
Dragon will carry the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System, which will be mounted on the exterior of the space station. CATS will measure the location and distribution of aerosols - solid particles found in the atmosphere - that can affect the climate and human health, notes NASA.
A fruit fly lab will provide new insights into the development and effects of microgravity on the flies. The astronauts will observe how fruit flies fight infections in space. The flies are contained in a habitat that is placed inside a camera to create a day/night cycle in space. A flatworm regeneration investigation to study cell repair in orbit - which would aid in the understanding of wound care in space - is also among the cargo flying to the space station Tuesday. Wearable Monitoring vests, with embedded sensors, will be used to measure heart rate and the breathing patterns of astronauts as they sleep and are also included in the payload.
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