WASHINGTON, July 25 (Xinhua) — The U.S. space agency NASA’s cargo provider SpaceX launched a Dragon spacecraft on Thursday, starting its resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
The spacecraft, packed with about 2,268 kg of research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware, lifted off at 6:01 p.m. EDT (1001 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the U.S. state of Florida.
About 10 minutes later, the second-stage engine has burnt completely and “Dragon confirmed in good orbit,” according to SpaceX’s official Twitter account.
ISS crew members will use the station’s 17.6-meter robotic arm to capture Dragon and attach it to the orbiting lab on Saturday, according to SpaceX.
Among Dragon’s payloads is NASA’s International Docking Adapter-3, where Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will dock in the near future to transport astronauts to the station.
The Dragon spacecraft also brought into space the BioFabrication Facility, designed to print organ-like tissues in microgravity, a stepping stone in a long-term plan to manufacture whole human organs in space using refined biological 3D printing techniques, according to NASA.
An investigation to be conducted on the ISS, the “Biorock,” developed by researchers from University of Edinburgh, will scrutinize the physical interactions of liquid, rocks and microorganisms under microgravity conditions for biomining in space.
The reusable spacecraft will spend approximately one month attached to the ISS before returning to Earth.