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On Monday (Aug 14), SpaceX successfully launched the unmanned Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon space capsule for SpaceX 12th re-supply mission to send cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).
The reusable Falcon 9 first stage rocket will return to Earth after separation, and land in an upright position.
The Elon Musk founded company, SpaceX is contracted by NASA to send up to 20 Dragon missions to the ISS.
A surprise load in the 6,400 pounds (2,900 kg) cargo which consists of experiments, hardware and supplies is three freezer packed with of frozen ice creams for the astronauts.
Good news for the station’s six astronauts. Instead of sending empty freezer, NASA decided to give the astronauts a treat by packing the extra freezer space with delicious ice creams. They will get to enjoy the ice creams for a whole month. After that the freezers will be filled with research when the Dragon returns to Earth on Sept 17.
U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson, the only lady astronaut has been in orbit since November, 2016 (more than 8.5 months), will certain enjoy the special treat.
According to Kathryn Hambleton, Public Affairs Officer at NASA Headquarters, told Gizmodo – there will be chocolate, vanilla and birthday cake flavored ice cream, as well as ice cream candy bars.
About 90% of the cargo will be science experiments,including 20 mice. The mice will be used to test the effects of long term space missions on biology.
There is a protein crystal experiment will be used to research a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Apart from that there is a small micro satellite prototype on board to study cosmic rays.
The cargo also includes the most powerful computer, around 1 teraflop, ever send into space. This Hewlett-Packard (HP) computer will be used in experiments to improve the communication time for future Mars and other space explorations.
Imagine, saying “Hello” from a space craft in Mars orbit, the controller in Houston will only receive the message after 3 – 21 minutes later. As space crafts travel further away from Earth, the communication delay gets longer. Reducing the communication delay will certainly boost space travel.
The communication delay for Earth-Jupiter is 33 – 53 minutes, whereas to the nearest star takes 4 years for the message to reach Earth!