The launch took place at Cape Canaveral in Florida at 1:20 p.m. EST, with the first stage separating according to plan and subsequently successfully returning to the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship just eight minutes later. The second stage then separated 12 minutes after the launch, sending the capsule into orbit. Onboard was 7,300 pounds of cargo, including hardware and various supplies such as fresh food. 3,000 pounds of that total weight also consisted of new solar arrays from Redwire, a space infrastructure company that says that its new flex blanket technology can increase the International Space Station’s power generation by 20 to 30 percent.
As the fifth resupply mission over the past 12 months, the Dragon capsule also carried research materials that will aid astronauts in a number of experiments involving testing oral bacteria and germ growth with Colgate toothpaste, the reproduction of tardigrades in space, and the effects of microgravity on the formation of kidney stones, which seem to particularly affect space crew members.
The Dragon resupply capsule is now scheduled to reach the International Space Station at 5:00 a.m. EST on June 5.
In other related news, NASA is sending new missions to Venus for the first time in 30 years.