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article imageSpaceX nails its 50th Falcon booster landing Friday night

By Karen Graham     Mar 7, 2020 in Science
Cape Canaveral - Not only did SpaceX successfully launched another load of station supplies for NASA late Friday night, including the Bartolomeo facility, created by ESA (European Space Agency) and Airbus, but SpaceX also nailed its 50th rocket landing.
Soaring through clear skies, liftoff of the 213-foot-tall (65-meter) Falcon 9 rocket — using a first stage booster that previously launched and landed in December — occurred at 11:50:31 p.m. EST Friday (0450:31 GMT Saturday) from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, reports Space Flight Now.
It was a bittersweet moment for SpaceX as they witnessed the final flight of the first version of the company’s Dragon cargo ship. The Dragon Capsule was loaded with 4,300 pounds (1,950 kilograms) of equipment and experiments - bound for the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday,
In the future, SpaceX will launch supplies in second-generation Dragons, roomier and more elaborate versions built for crews.
Just minutes after the initial launch, the booster shut down and separated from the Falcon 9’s upper stage. Three engines on the booster fired to steer the rocket back toward the landing site and minutes later, the three engines fired again to slow the booster down for its picture-perfect return to Landing Zone 1 at the Florida spaceport.
“And the Falcon has landed for the 50th time in SpaceX history!” SpaceX engineer Jessica Anderson announced amid cheers at Mission Control, per the Associated Press. “What an amazing live view all the way to touchdown.”
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said it was the windiest conditions ever - 25 mph to 30 mph (40 kph to 48 kph)b- for a booster landing at Cape Canaveral, but he wanted to push the envelope. “Envelope expanded,” Musk tweeted following the touchdown.
An array of science experiments
In addition to the Bartolomeo external platform that will be installed outside the European Columbus laboratory on the ISS, there were some additional science experiments loaded into the Dragon Capsule.
Shoe-maker Adidas has an interesting experiment using the BOOST Orbital Operations on Spheroid Tessellation (Adidas BOOST) investigation that looks at how multiple types of pellets behave in its molding process.
Delta Faucet Company is conducting a Droplet Formation Study in Microgravity that will evaluate water droplet formation and water flow of Delta Faucet's H2Okinetic showerhead technology. While reduced water flow in showers will conserve water, the reduced flow will also impact the effectiveness of the showerhead.
The platform will attach to the exterior of the space station’s European Columbus Module. Named fo...
The platform will attach to the exterior of the space station’s European Columbus Module. Named for the younger brother of Christopher Columbus, the platform has the capability to host external payloads in low-Earth orbit on the station.
NASA/ Ben Smegelsky
However, research in microgravity could help improve technology, creating better performance and improved user experience while conserving water and energy.
There are also experiments using 3D models of heart and intestinal tissue, and 320 snippets of grapevines sent by Space Cargo Unlimited. This is the same company that sent 12 bottles of red wine to the space station last November for a year of high-altitude aging.
The two Americans and one Russian astronaut are also getting some requested treats, including grapefruit, oranges, apples, tomatoes, Skittles, Hot Tamales, and Reese’s Pieces.
More about Spacex, Bartolomeo, 50th booster landing, SpaceX CRS20, resupply mission
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