The Final Launch of SpaceX's Block 4 Falcon 9 Was Beautiful

Up for a visit

Up for a visit

At 5:42 a.m. EDT Friday, June 29, 2018, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft lifts off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. He's being taken up to the ISS today, on board a Space X rocket on a resupply mission.

The capsule most recently visited the ISS in July 2016 while the booster helped to launch a NASA planet-hunting satellite in April.

About 10 minutes into the flight, SpaceX confirmed that the Dragon has successfully deployed from the rocket's second stage and was in a "good orbit". "It is meant to show to what extent the astronauts' work can be supported in the European Columbus module on the ISS and relieve them, in particular, of routine tasks", said Christian Karrasch, CIMON Project Manager at the DLR Space Administration.

Manfred Jaumann, the head of microgravity payloads at Airbus, described CIMON as "a kind of flying brain". Using its 14 internal fans, CIMON can accelerate toward any astronaut calling its name and can appear to "nod" to show understanding of a command.

So while CIMON was made to help Gerst carry out research, it's also the beginning of the study of human-machine conversational AI interaction in space.




Dragon will fly with almost 6,000 pounds of cargo, supplies and science experiments as part of the 15th of 20 missions under a contract between SpaceX and NASA's Commercial Resupply Services program, also known as CRS-15.

The spacecraft carries over 5,900 pounds of load, including experimentation and investigation equipment such as the Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, Micro-12 and Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station.

Also among the cargo is a project to measure water stress in plants on Earth and how sertain regions may respond to climate change.

Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel, U.S. astronauts onboard the ISS, will use the Canadarm2 to grab the Dragon spacecraft.

They did the same with Scott and Mark Kelly, Nasa's former identical twin astronauts, during Scott's year-long space station mission a few years ago.

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