A little while ago the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft blasted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in its CRS-7 (Cargo Resupply Service 7) mission, also referred to as SPX-7. It was supposed to be the seventh mission that sent the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station with various a cargo. Unfortunately a couple of minutes after launch something went wrong, causing the destruction of the rocket and the Dragon.
With the Falcon 9 rocket version 1.1 the new technology for the controlled landing of the first stage is being tested. SpaceX decided to proceed with the third attempt to land the first stage on an automated marine platform called the autonomous spaceport drone ship. This time it was the “Of Course I Still Love You”, which has various updates over the other platform, also to try to limit the damage in case of failure. Again, the name comes from a spaceship from Iain M. Banks’ fictional universe of the Culture. At this point the new attempt will have to wait.
The cargo on the spacecraft Dragon was nearly 1.9 tons (about 4, 000 lbs) between the pressurized and non-pressurized. There were almost 500 kg of food and other supplies for the crew of the International Space Station but most of the cargo consisted of instruments, hardware and various other materials needed in many experiments and scientific research conducted aboard the Station.
Among the many experiments there were several created within the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program and the National Design Challenge and sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). Those were experiments created by students involving various scientific disciplines going from a study on pollination in microgravity to an investigation of a new type of plastic to block solar radiation.
Besides all this, the Dragon was carrying the International Docking Adapter 1 (IDA-1), a key component of the new docking system that will be used by the new American spacecraft that should start operating in 2017. It was connected to one of the two Pressurized Mating Adapters (PMA) on the Harmony module of the Station.
Unfortunately this is the third incident for a rocket in the launch of a cargo spaceship in less than a year. Three different rockets had various problems causing the destruction of cargo for the International Space Station. Definitely not a good situation.
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