Space station captures Dragon capsule for second time, making history

hp enterprise space x supercomputer spacex dragon capsule
NASA/SpaceX
Following its successful launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, June 3, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule made history on Monday, June 5 as it became the company’s first spacecraft to connect with the International Space Station (ISS) for a second time.

Its arrival makes it the first U.S. spaceship to return to the ISS since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

The Dragon first visited the space station in 2014, with this second trip serving to highlight the progress SpaceX is making with the design of its reusable rocket system, which also includes a Falcon 9 launch vehicle capable of landing back on Earth minutes after leaving the ground.

NASA announced the historic revisit by the uncrewed Dragon on its website: “While the International Space Station was traveling about 250 miles over the south Atlantic ocean east of the coast of Argentina, flight engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA captured Dragon (below) a few minutes ahead of schedule at 9:52 a.m. ET.”

space station dragon capsule historic spacex crs11 grapple
NASA/SpaceX
NASA/SpaceX

Now that it’s in the firm grip of the inhabited orbiting satellite, the Dragon cargo ship will be carefully maneuvered by ground crew using the space station’s robotic arm. They’ll carefully install the capsule onto the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module before the astronauts begin unpacking nearly three tons of supplies and equipment.

The science gear includes, of all things, a number of fruit flies for an experiment aimed at improving our understanding of the effects on the heart of lengthy exposure to microgravity. “Because they’re small, age rapidly, and have a well-known genetic make-up, [the flies] are good models for heart function studies,” NASA explained.

The crew will also be conducting tests focusing on osteoporosis as scientists search for ways to help astronauts maintain bone density when in space for extended periods. If the research proves successful, the findings could lead to the creation of medication that can prevent bone loss and even build new bone, helping not only astronauts on future missions into deep space but also millions of people back on Earth currently dealing with the condition.

In addition, three payloads inside Dragon’s unpressurized area will demonstrate new solar panel technologies, study the physics of neutron stars, and host an array of Earth-viewing instruments, NASA said.

The Dragon will stay docked for the rest of this month before SpaceX embarks on its next challenge — bringing it back safely to Earth, where it it is hoped that it will splash into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. And after that? Another trip to the space station with more supplies, most likely.

Emerging Tech

SpaceX makes rocketry look easy, sticks yet another Falcon 9 landing

SpaceX is due to perform its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing on November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Here's how you can watch the proceedings live.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

In a weighty decision, scientists prepare to redefine the kilogram

Metrologists are meeting at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles to vote on whether to redefine the kilogram as a constant that can be observed in the natural world.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Emerging Tech

Google’s balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019

In order to bring the internet to those who lack it, a company called Loon is launching balloons into the stratosphere. From more than 12 miles up, these balloons beam connectivity over a large area on the ground.
Emerging Tech

Hikers missing on Mount Fuji could soon find a drone buzzing above their heads

Hikers who go missing while climbing Japan's highest mountain could soon find a drone buzzing above their head. A new system using the flying machines has been set up on Mount Fuji for future search-and-rescue missions.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.
Cars

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.