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SpaceX crew and employees will be rejoicing: the company's 50th Falcon rocket launch went smoothly this weekend, seeing the rocket land safely back to Earth for the last time.
Making history, the Falcon rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida with 1,950 kg(4,300 pounds) of equipment for the International Space Station (ISS). The first-stage booster landed successfully after the launch, while the Dragon capsule kept hurtling up to the ISS.
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50th successful landing
"And the Falcon has landed for the 50th time in SpaceX history!" SpaceX engineer Jessica Anderson cheerily announced at Mission Control. "What an amazing live view all the way to touchdown."
This marks the 20th station delivery for SpaceX. Since it began shipments in 2012 to Space, the company has launched around 45,460 kg (100,000 pounds) of goods to the ISS.
More photos of Falcon 9’s launch of Dragon’s twentieth resupply mission to the @Space_Station, and SpaceX’s 50th landing of an orbit class rocket booster → https://t.co/095WHX44BXpic.twitter.com/nYxzIiLm7N— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 8, 2020
Elon Musk, SpaceX's CEO and founder, stated that this was the windiest launch they've ever encountered for a booster launch, with winds up to 40-45 kph (25-35 mph), but the team still wanted to forge ahead. And it's a good thing they did, as this was the 50th time a SpaceX booster has landed successfully either back on land or in water.
Some of the experiments that are being sent via SpaceX's Dragon capsule include an analysis of running shoe cushioning in weightlessness by Adidas, a Delta Faucet Co. water droplet study, 3D models of the heart and intestinal tissue, and 320 snippets of grape vines by Space Cargo Unlimited.
Goodies for the two American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut in the ISS were also part of the payload. They'll now be able to snack on grapefruits, oranges, apples, tomatoes, Skittles, Hot Tamales, and Reese's Pieces.
SpaceX recycles its boosters and capsules from previous flights, and this time marked the last time this Dragon cargo capsule would take flight. In the future, the company will use second-generation Dragon capsules, which will be spacier to include crew.
Envelope expanded https://t.co/WIuWUTAAnh— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 7, 2020