The Dragon spacecraft has successfully reached the International Space Station, delivering nearly 5, 000 pounds of cargo to the orbiting lab. This is SpaceX’s fourth official resupply mission for NASA and fifth trip to station overall.The CRS-4 mission began early in the morning on Sunday, September 21, when Dragon and the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Fla. at 1:52am EDT.The picture-perfect launch was the fourteenth successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket. At liftoff, Falcon 9’s nine Merlin engines put out 1.3 million pounds of thrust, rising to 1.5 million pounds as the vehicle climbed out of Earth’s atmosphere.Dragon orbited the Earth for approximately two days. Dragon caught up to the space station and was grappled by the station’s robotic arm at 6:52am EDT on Tuesday, September 23. NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst used the ISS Canadarm 2 to capture Dragon, and berth the vehicle to the Earth-facing Harmony node by 9:21am EDT.On Tuesday morning, ISS Astronauts opened Dragon’s hatch, beginning a four week process of unloading science experiments, crew supplies, and other gear and repacking Dragon with Earth-bound cargo.Experiments include the ISS Rapid Scatterometer, which will explore how winds over the ocean affect weather patterns, and Rodent Research-1, an experiment to observe the effects of spaceflight on mice –also SpaceX’s first live mammals! Read more about the research delivered by Dragon here.
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