LIVESTREAM: SpaceX to launch rocket bringing cargo to ISS

James Marshall
August 14, 2017

The International Space Station (ISS) is about to get its first supercomputer next week. This was the last new first-generation Dragon capsule to be sent into space.

An unmanned Falcon 9 rocket was launched at 12:31 p.m. ET Monday from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The cargo ship is packed with 6,400 pounds (2,900 kilograms) of supplies, including a sophisticated super-computer made by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), called The Spaceborne Computer. Forecasters are predicting a 70 percent chance of good weather.

The launch, scheduled for exactly 12.31pm Eastern Standard Time (20.31 UAE time), will be watched by contest victor, Alia Al Mansoori and her family who have travelled to Florida for the lift-off.

The Dragon capsule is expected to eventually reach the International Space Station, which will use a giant robotic arm to latch onto the capsule and bring the cargo onboard.

The Spaceborne Computer is nothing like the mammoth supercomputers on Earth, which take up rooms the size of basketball courts to tackle complex challenges like simulating the planet's weather or the effects of aging on nuclear weapons. The first successful recovery occurred in late December of 2015, a testament to the exceptional speed the company moves at. About 9 minutes, 14 seconds after leaving Florida, the lone Merlin Vacuum engine cut off. This mission is the 12th of 20 resupply missions.

SpaceX successfully conducted its 11th orbital launch of 2017, tasked with sending its Cargo Dragon spacecraft into low Earth orbit. In order to measure this, the team also has two servers identical to those headed to the ISS running in Wisconsin as control units, giving it four data points in total.

The Dragon will spend about a month attached to the space station before returning to Earth in mid-September with the results of other experiments, NASA said. Musk said in mid-June the company would not fly its "Red Dragon" mission to the surface of Mars, an innovative idea to land a large, uncrewed spacecraft on Mars.

SpaceX has been perfecting its system of recovering the first stage of the Falcon 9 rockets - preserving them for re-use in future missions and thereby saving millions of dollars in mission costs.

Minutes ago, as SpaceX's Dragon took off atop the Falcon 9 toward the ISS, an era ended. Liftoff for the OTV-5 mission now expected on September 7.

This is a big one for the upcoming mission. The company is now under a contract to send 20 missions to the outpost, which should be completed no earlier than 2019.

Protein crystals can attain a larger size - as well as a more ideal structure - if they're grown in microgravity as opposed to on Earth, because gravity is known to interfere with protein formation.

The CRS-12 launch marks a busy period both for the Cape and for NASA, just four days from now, August 18, Colorado-based United Launch Alliance is planning to send a mission into space on behalf of the US space agency.

Some of the other experiments include one that supports the Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass (CREAM) experiment on-board the station that gathers data on the charges of cosmic rays and analysis into growing new lung tissue among others.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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