SpaceX, SpaceX and SpaceX: three launches for the price of two

The three astronauts spend four hours and 26 minutes on their experiment. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft lifts off from Virginia with supplies for the International Space Station. Cygnus was parachuted into the Atlantic after…

SpaceX, SpaceX and SpaceX: three launches for the price of two

The three astronauts spend four hours and 26 minutes on their experiment.

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft lifts off from Virginia with supplies for the International Space Station. Cygnus was parachuted into the Atlantic after reaching orbit and rendezvoused with the orbiting lab just a few hours later. It’s the second Cygnus delivery since 2016.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Ricky Arnold and David Saint-Jacques, a French astronaut, lifted off at 5:50pm ET, carrying the most recent addition to the orbiting lab: 27 pounds of personal science experiments.

Kimbrough, Saint-Jacques and Arnold spent 4 hours and 26 minutes on their experiment, too long to learn anything. Arnold tried to whip up a batch of some super spicy and creative blended salsa to add to the samples and also mentioned a new oil made from scientific goodness.

After a 4-hour and 26 minute flight, the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Cygnus left orbit and landed upright on Earth two minutes and 48 seconds later.

NASA oversees the storage and resupply program for the space station. These flights bring food, experiment equipment and other supplies back and forth. Many of these runs take place by cargo carriers that run SpaceX and Orbital ATK, who upgrade the cargo when their vehicles’ rockets fall out of flight mode.

Saint-Jacques, Kimbrough and Arnold brought back some science from the 2018 National Space Symposium. Those activities included samples from Dragon v2’s fruit flies and test flight of the reentry capsule so NASA could better understand the effects of reentry and separation on astronauts. The samples could help better understand what scientists think the effects of space flight may be on biological systems, such as the human body.

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