Space

SpaceX's CRS-4 mission blasts off for space station

SpaceX's CRS-4 mission blasts ...
CRS-4 lifting off (Image: NASA Television)
CRS-4 lifting off (Image: NASA Television)
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CRS-4 lifting off (Image: NASA Television)
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CRS-4 lifting off (Image: NASA Television)
CRS-4 carried 5,000 lb of cargo (Image: NASA/Sandy Joseph and Kevin O'Connell)
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CRS-4 carried 5,000 lb of cargo (Image: NASA/Sandy Joseph and Kevin O'Connell)

SpaceX has launched its fourth commercial mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The CRS-4 Dragon spacecraft lifted off atop a Falcon 9 booster early Sunday morning from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 1:52 am EDT. On board is about 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) of cargo, including the first zero gravity 3D printer and a crew of "mousetronauts."

Today’s launch came after a delay from the original Saturday launch window due to poor weather conditions. The spacecraft is now carrying out a series of orbital maneuvers for its rendezvous with the ISS on Tuesday, when the station crew will catch the Dragon with a grapple and transfer it to a docking port, where it will remain until mid-October before returning to Earth with a collection of scientific samples.

On board the unmanned cargo vessel are supplies for the station and a collection of experiments, including the International Space Station-Rapid Scatterometer that uses radar pulses to study the wave speeds and wind directions on the surface of the oceans, a 3D printer designed to work in weightless conditions that may one day allow astronauts to print spare parts in orbit, and the Rodent Research Hardware and Operations Validation (Rodent Research-1), which includes a new habitat carrying a collection of normal and genetically modified rodent "mousetronauts" to study the long-term medical effects of weightlessness.

CRS-4 carried 5,000 lb of cargo (Image: NASA/Sandy Joseph and Kevin O'Connell)
CRS-4 carried 5,000 lb of cargo (Image: NASA/Sandy Joseph and Kevin O'Connell)

The CRS-4 launch comes on the heels of NASA’s announcement that SpaceX has been chosen along with Boeing to ferry astronauts to the space station. Though passengers will travel in the Dragon V2, today’s mission used the original cargo version of the Dragon as part of a US$1.6 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract.

The video below shows the night launch of the CRS-4 mission.

Source: NASA

SpaceX Dragon launches to the ISS

1 comment
Dirk Scott
If the Spacex team are looking for a particularly intelligent batch of mousetronaughts, they are welcome to the little rotters in my kitchen in Lisbon, Portugal. I have bought traps, sticky stuff and tried baiting the same with chocolate, butter and sausage all to no avail. Make no mistake, if these guys were sent to Mars, it would not be too many generations before they were objecting to "incursions on their sovereign territory" when Earth probes arrived.