SpaceX making Easter delivery of station supplies

Photo By NASA/AP This Friday, April 18, 2014 image made from video shows the aft of the SpaceX Dragon capsule as it separates from the second stage rocket into orbit on its own. The Dragon cargo ship is scheduled to reach the orbiting lab on Sunday, April 20, 2014 - Easter morning.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A SpaceX supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Friday, setting the stage for an Easter morning delivery and urgent spacewalking repairs later in the week.
 
Following its midday launch through cloudy skies, the Dragon cargo carrier was shown drifting away in the blackness of space, against the blue backdrop of Earth.
 
It's transporting 2½ tons of goods, including a new spacesuit, spacesuit replacement parts, much-needed food, legs for NASA's humanoid, Robonaut, a bevy of mating flies, and germs gathered from sports arenas and historic sites across the U.S.
 
The Dragon will reach the orbiting lab on Sunday — Easter morning. That pushes urgent spacewalking repairs to Wednesday; NASA wants a bad backup computer replaced before something else breaks.
 
This was the second launch attempt this week for SpaceX.
 
NASA's commercial supplier was foiled by a leaky rocket valve Monday. The valve was replaced, and the company aimed for a Friday liftoff despite a dismal forecast. Storms cleared out of Cape Canaveral just in time.
 
A critical backup computer failed outside the space station last Friday, and NASA considered postponing the SpaceX flight. The primary computer is working fine, but numerous systems would be seriously compromised if it broke, too. A double failure also would hinder visits by the Dragon and other vessels.
 
"It's imperative that we maintain" backups for these external command-routing computer boxes, also called multiplexer-demultiplexers, or MDMs, said flight director Brian Smith said Friday. "Right now, we don't have that."
 
NASA decided late this week to use the gasket-like material already on board the space station for the repair, instead of waiting for the Dragon and the new, precision-cut material that NASA rushed on board for the computer swap. Astronauts trimmed their own thermal material Friday to fit the bottom of the replacement computer, and inserted a fresh circuit card.
 
The space station's six-man crew watched the launch via a live TV hookup; the outpost was soaring 260 miles above Turkey at the time of ignition. Video beamed down from Dragon showed the solar wings unfurling.
 
The shipment is close to five weeks late. Initially set for mid-March, the launch was delayed by extra prepping, then damage to an Air Force radar and, finally on Monday, the rocket leak.
 
Earlier, as the countdown entered its final few hours, NASA's space station program manager Mike Suffredini said an investigation continues into the reason for last summer's spacesuit failure. The helmet worn by an Italian astronaut filled with water from the suit's cooling system, and he nearly drowned during a spacewalk.
 
Routine U.S. spacewalks are on hold until engineers are certain what caused the water leak. The upcoming spacewalk by the two Americans on board is considered an exception because of its urgent nature; it will include no unnecessary tasks, just the 2½-hour computer swap.
 
NASA is paying the California-based SpaceX — Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — and Virginia's Orbital Sciences Corp. to keep the orbiting lab well stocked. It was SpaceX's fourth trip to the space station. Russia, Japan and Europe also make periodic deliveries.
 
Unlike the other cargo carriers, the Dragon can bring items back for analysis.
 
Among the science samples going up on the Dragon and slated to return with it in a month: 200 fruit flies and their expected progeny, and germs collected from stadiums and sports arenas, as well as such notables as America's Liberty Bell and Sue, the T. rex fossil skeleton at Chicago's Field Museum.
 
Scientists will study the hearts of the returning flies — as many as 3,000 are expected for the trip home. The germ samples, once back on Earth, will be compared with duplicate cultures on the ground.
 
Staying up there — for as long as the space station lives — will be new legs for NASA's humanoid, Robonaut. The indoor robot has been in orbit for three years, but only from the waist up.
 
By: Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace
 
To view the original article CLICK HERE.
Related Posts: 
  • Atafu Atoll, Tokelau, in the Southern Pacific Ocean
  • And here's what the capsule looks like without all the flashing lights. It's kind of gumdrop-shaped:
  • Virgin Galactic on the Tarmac
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off.
  • Orion Exploration flight test one
  • Photo of the moon from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA
  • Soyuz Liftoff
  • Spaceport Map
  • Photo by Mark Rademaker
    Faster than Light: Warp Drive - SpaceVision 2013
  • NASA's LADEE spacecraft was imaged above the surface of the Moon as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • Viewing map
  • Viewing Map
  • Dream Chaser
  • ISS
  • Spacewalking Astronaut
  • Spaceport America Company Locations
  • Spacewalking Astronaut
  • Dream Chaser
  • SpaceShipTwo
  • Mars Landscape
  • Mission Control
  • Newton Engine
  • Launch Pad
  • Waypoint2Space Zero Gravity Simulation Spaceflight Fundamentals
  • Microgravity Training
  • Richard Branson: I Want You to Be an Astronaut
  • F9R 1000m Fin Flight | Onboard Cam and Wide Shot
  • File picture of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a small science satellite for Canada is seen as it is launched from a newly refurbished launch pad in Vandenberg Air Force Station. CREDIT: REUTERS/GENE BLEVINS
  • Leaked Star Wars Episode VII Filmset Footage!
  • Time Capsule to Mars Press Conference (excerpts)
  • Falcon 9 First Stage Reentry Footage from Plane
  • Stock Xcor Photo
  • Falcon 9 Liftoff
  • Astronaut Tim Peake
  • Dream Chaser New Concept of Operations
  • First SpaceX capsule to deliver to the ISS
  • Falcon 9 First Stage Return | ORBCOMM Mission
  • Space Shuttle on Plane
  • Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • Virgin Galactic Celebration
  • Cygnus Launch
  • ISS Crossing the Orlando Skyline
  • FAA Logo
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Sochi Olympic Torch in Space
  • NASA Commercial interests
    Highlights from Commercial Flights to the International Space Station
  • Commercial Space Program Success
  • Cape Canaveral
  • Free Floating NASA Astronaut
  • Virgin Galactic Spaceship2
  • SpaceX Dragon launch
  • Cygnus on Launchpad
  • PayPal Galactic: Aiming For The Final Frontier
  • NASA Johnson Style (Gangnam Style Parody)
  • Olympic Soyz
  • Zero Gravity training
  • WhiteKnight and SpaceShipTwo taking off
  • SNC's Dream Chaser First Free-Flight Approach-and-Landing Test
  • Cygnus detaching from ISS
  • LADEE
  • US astronaut Karen Nyberg tweeted this striking photo of storm clouds above Ghana as seen from the International Space Station.on October 8, 2013. Credit: Karen Nyberg/NASA
  • Boeing CTS-100 Capsule in orbit
  • EVA from the Movie "Gravity"
  • SpaceShipTwo
  • SpaceX rocket Waiting to launch
  • Chinese Launch
  • SES-8 Patch
  • Falcon 9 launch
  • Moon landing
  • X-37B
  • Let's Create History Together
  • $75K 'Edge Of Space' Balloon Ride Gets FAA Approval | Animation
  • Bigelow
  • Chinese-Brazilian Rocket
  • Venus
  • Rocket on pad
  • Maven
  • Mojave Desert
  • ISS
  • Maven Launch
  • Silicon Valley entrepreneurs set sights on space travel
  • Solar Flare
  • VASIMR Orbital Sweeper for Space Debris Removal
  • International Space Station
  • Object tracking Map
  • ISS
  • Mars probe flyby
  • Antarctica Lab
  • NASA Launch Pad

Categories

Monthly Archive