A SpaceX-built spacecraft reached the International Space Station Sunday to deliver approximately 4,861 pounds of scientific experiments and crew supplies in support of more than 300 investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory, NASASpaceFlight.com reported Sunday.
Astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei used a robotic arm, CanadArm2, to capture and navigate the Dragon spacecraft to the Nadir port of the ISS’ Harmony module two days after the vehicle launched at 10:36 a.m. Eastern time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
The launch marks SpaceX’s 13th cargo delivery mission to the ISS under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA and the second time that the company used a previously flown spacecraft from the CRS-6 mission in 2015.
SpaceX initially launched in June a reused cargo spacecraft that took off and returned to Earth in 2014 as part of the CRS-4 mission.
Scientific experiments and tools onboard the spacecraft include the Space Debris Sensor designed to measure orbital debris for up to three years and the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor-1 that will work to explore the sun’s influence on the Earth’s atmospheric circulation, ozone and clouds.
The spacecraft also contains a Center for the Advancement of Science in Space-sponsored investigation designed by in-space manufacturing firm Made in Space that seeks to demonstrate the production of fiber optic elements in microgravity environments.
Dragon will stay at the space laboratory until January before it leaves for Earth with at least 3,600 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware.