SpaceX Conducts 15th ISS Resupply Operation Under NASA Contract

Cesar Mills
July 2, 2018

A spare hand for the station's robotic arm, an experiment to measure plant stress and a study of a new cancer treatment were also on board as the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:42 am (0942 GMT).

CIMON has been equipped with 14 internal fans to help it maneuver in space in a zero-gravity environment. Something went wrong about two minutes into the flight, and the rocket broke apart, raining debris out of the sky. The Dragon spacecraft, meanwhile, last flew in July 2016 for SpaceX's ninth mission under the CRS contract. It also contained new high-resolution cameras created to look at meteors as they plow into Earth's atmosphere.

Named Crew Interactive Mobile Companion (or CIMON for short), the floating orb is a little larger than a basketball and will use an air propulsion system to slowly move around the ISS.

The closely held company controlled by CEO Elon Musk launched its Falcon 9 rocket and payload from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida about 5.44am local time. The robot can even assess the moods of its human crewmates and interact with them accordingly. "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.

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This is the second liftoff for both the Dragon and the Falcon 9's first stage, Space.com noted.

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It will hover at the eye level of astronaut and its front camera can easily detect if the person it is facing is Alexander, or someone else.

There are also 60 packets of Death Wish Coffee from NY state on board. Already savvy about Gerst's science experiments, the self-propelling Cimon will float at the astronaut's side and help, when asked, with research procedures.

Earlier this morning, the rocket blasted off carrying the robot as well as two sets of genetically identical female mice and super-strong coffee for the space station's caffeine-craving crew.

SpaceX won't retrieve the booster for another flight because it is switching to a new model.

With any luck, the rocket can be reused up to 100 times.

Other reports by GizPress

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