SpaceX shipment reaches space station


The Saturday launch went smoothly, with the booster streaking to a smooth landing on a recovery ship just offshore.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes off loaded with a Dragon cargo craft during a resupply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., May 4, 2019. SpaceX meant to refly the capsule on a launch-abort test in June, ahead of the first flight with astronauts on a new crew Dragon.

Over the weekend, SpaceX launched its Dragon cargo spacecraft packed with supplies for the International Space Station.

This recycled Dragon spacecraft, which is making its second space trip, reached orbit on a Flacon 9 booster that has also been recycled from an earlier flight.

This latest cargo Dragon - marking the company's 17th shipment - is carrying equipment and experiments for the six space station astronauts, including an instrument to monitor carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere.

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The SpaceX Dragon also carried genomic DNA samples that had been edited on Earth to contain double strand breaks, the buildup of which can contribute to serious health issues.

"The vehicle was destroyed", said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability at SpaceX, during a Thursday press conference in advance of Saturday's CRS-17 flight with NASA.

The booster likely will be reused for SpaceX's next station supply run.

The space station's current crew comprises Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexei Ovchinin, US astronauts Anne McClain, Christina Koch and Nick Hague and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques. NASA has given SpaceX a $2.6 billion contract for building the Crew Dragon capsule that NASA was planning to use for returning human space flight back to United States soil.

Koenigsmann said earlier this week the company still does not know what caused the empty capsule to burst apart in flames on a test stand. Much of the focus this year is on the first flight with humans on board.