Sunday, September 25, 2022

SpaceX launches ants, avocados and robots to the space station

Cape Canaveral, Florida – On Sunday, SpaceX transported ants, avocados and a human-sized robotic arm to the International Space Station.

The delivery-scheduled to arrive on Monday-is the company’s 23rd delivery for NASA in less than ten years. A recovered Falcon rocket flew from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center into the pre-dawn sky.

After raising the Dragon capsule, the first-stage booster landed upright on SpaceX’s latest offshore platform, called “Insufficient Gravity.” SpaceX founder Elon Musk continued his tradition of naming the booster recovery ship to pay tribute to the late science fiction writer Ian Banks and his cultural series.

The Dragon spacecraft carried more than 4,800 pounds of supplies and experimental products, as well as fresh food for the seven astronauts on the space station, including avocados, lemons and even ice cream.

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The Girl Scouts are experimenting with ants, brine shrimp and plants, while scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are extracting seeds from mouse ear cress, a small flowering weed used for genetic research. Samples of concrete, solar cells and other materials will also be in a state of weightlessness.

At the same time, an experimental robotic arm of a Japanese start-up company will try to assemble items together when its orbit debuts, and perform other daily chores usually done by astronauts. The first test will be conducted inside the space station. Chief Technology Officer Toyotaka Kozuki said that the future model of the Gitai Inc. robot will venture into the vacuum of space to practice satellites and other maintenance tasks.

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He added that as early as 2025, a team of these weapons could help build a lunar base and mine precious resources on the moon.

Due to the delay caused by COVID-19, SpaceX had to abandon some experiments.

This is the second launch attempt; Saturday’s attempt was thwarted by stormy weather.

Once the space shuttle program ended in 2011, NASA turned to SpaceX and other American companies to deliver cargo and crew to the space station.

Nation World News Desk
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