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Home / Science / SpaceX cargo launches slip off the day after a rodent attempt – Spaceflight Now

SpaceX cargo launches slip off the day after a rodent attempt – Spaceflight Now



Photo of a SpaceX Dragon capsule in orbit. Credit: NASA

NASA has announced that it will delay the next launch of SpaceX by one day by Wednesday to give ground teams the time to replace Moldy Food Bars, which are designed for 40 mice, to be Internationalized as part of a biological research experiment Go to the space station. On two consecutive Falcon 9 missions, he was unable to give the startup company a chance.

The commercial cargo flight, which was scheduled for Tuesday, is now scheduled for 13:16 pm EST (1816 GMT) from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 will launch SpaceX's Dragon Cargo capsule to track the space station, where astronauts will capture the supply ship with the station's robotic arm.

The flight will be SpaceX's second launch of the week after a launch on Monday of the Falcon 9 rocket with 64 commercial smallsats in orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. If the cargo launch from Cape Canaveral had taken place on Tuesday, SpaceX's second Falcon 9 flight would have been tagged in less than 24 hours.

As of today, a launch of Cape Canaveral on Wednesday will still set a record for SpaceX's fastest turnaround between two Falcon 9 missions, with less than 48 hours of distance between the two flights from the West Coast and the East Coast. The shortest time between the launch of Falcon 9 took place in June 2017, when two rockets set off at a distance of more than 49 hours from Florida and California.

NASA officials said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that the SpaceX service mission could be postponed a day after the ground teams discovered moldy food bars intended to feed mice riding to the station in the dragon's pressurized cabin should. The space agency confirmed the one-day shipment in a brief statement on Tuesday night.

"The launch has been postponed to Wednesday after mold was found on feed bars prior to handover to SpaceX for a rodent study," NASA said in the Tuesday night update. "Teams will use the extra day to replace the food bars."

NASA noted that the rodent experiment experiment for the space station's experimentation program is critical enough to keep the Dragon cargo flight on the ground until the food bars can be reinstated. Fresh food bars should be delivered to Cape Canaveral from NASA's Ames Research Center in California late Tuesday to be loaded into the Dragon capsule. However, the officers raced with a clock to seal the hatch of the spaceship and raise the Falcon 9 rocket in advance of preparing for the countdown one Tuesday afternoon.

"Today, just as we were preparing the rodents for loading aboard the vehicle, we looked at a few food bars that are necessary for the rodents," said Joel Montalbano, NASA Space Station Deputy Director. "They were contaminated with some mold there. So we have to remove them.

"We work hard with the SpaceX team, but it's getting tight," Montalbano said Tuesday, hours before NASA confirmed the delay of the one-day start.

The 40 mice, which were carried in special habitats, were to be packed into the spacecraft Dragon on Monday evening while the Falcon 9 rocket was sitting horizontally. The late-load capability on the eve of launch allows scientists to add time-critical samples to the Dragon Spacecraft Cargo Committee.

"We assume that all foods are suspect, not just the foods that were loaded today, but the food we had already loaded will replace all of our food," Montalbano said. "Rodents are one of our priority missionary objectives, so it's important enough for us to go one day if we're not ready to go rodent."

Researchers send the mice to the space station to study the effects of weightlessness on the immune system of animals, muscles and bones, information that compares scientists with the condition of a control group of mice kept on the ground. The mice that fly into space are also divided into young and old groups to make comparative studies of how space flight affects aging processes in the body.

"Space flight responses in humans and model organisms such as mice are similar to certain aspects of accelerated aging," the scientists wrote in a summary of the experiment on the NASA website. "This study provides a better understanding of the aging-related immune, bone and muscle diseases that may lead to new space and terrestrial therapies."

Dragon's capsule to carry 5,673 pounds (2,573 kilograms) from research experiments, occupation of crew members and parts of the station to the station.

In addition to the biological experiments inside the kite, there are two NASA payloads in the rear hold of the spaceship, which are to be mounted outside the space station. One will demonstrate new tools and techniques that could in future lead to filling satellites with cryogenic propellants in space, and another will scan the planet with a laser to measure the height, density, and structure of forest canopies, scientists said could tell about the role of forests in the carbon cycle.

The Dragon spacecraft will remain in the space station until mid-January, when it will leave and re-enter the Pacific Ocean, ending in a parachute. Supporting the California Coast Cascade, where SpaceX teams will recapture the capsule.

On Wednesday, the delivery of relief supplies will kick off on the 16th, carried out by SpaceX in a $ 3.04 billion contract with NASA. SpaceX also has a follow-up freight transport contract covering at least six additional flights to the station by 2024, as well as a separate NASA contract for the development and operation of the new Crew Dragon spacecraft, which allows astronauts to travel to and from the space station.

NASA also has freight delivery contracts with Northrop Grumman and Sierra Nevada Corp. as well as an occupation agreement with Boeing.

SpaceX wants the first leg of the Falcon 9 rocket A few minutes after the launch of Cape Canaveral on Wednesday, the first missile return, land on Florida's Space Coast, since a couple of boosters landed during the opening flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February. All Falcon 9 flights from Florida's Space Coast have either made landings on the SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic or have dropped their first leg.

The launch for Wednesday's launch is a brand new vehicle. Dragoncapson is a veteran of an earlier space station that had begun in February 2017.

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Follow Stephen Clark's Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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