SpaceX launched its 29th robotic cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) using a Falcon 9 rocket. Photo/NASA/SpaceX/Space
FLORIDA – SpaceX launched its 29th robotic cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) using a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch of the CRS-29 Dragon cargo mission was carried out from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida Thursday 9 November 2023 at 20.28 local time.
As its name suggests, CRS-29 is the 29th robotic resupply mission that SpaceX has flown to NASA’s orbiting laboratory. CRS stands for “Commercial Resupply Services.”
The CRS-29 Dragon mission carries more than 6,500 pounds or 2,950 kilograms of scientific supplies and hardware, including NASA’s AWE and ILLUMA-T experiments. If everything goes according to plan, CRS-29 Dragon will arrive at the ISS Saturday, November 11, 2023.
The ILLUMA-T or Integrated Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Low Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal device will test high-speed communications in collaboration with NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) mission.
“Laser communications could complement the radio frequency systems currently used by most space-based missions to send data to and from Earth. The ILLUMA-T demonstration also paves the way for placing laser communications terminals on spacecraft orbiting the moon or Mars,” NASA said.
The CRS-29 Dragon mission also brings a variety of food for the crew on the ISS, including several seasonal specialties. “We provide several fun treats, such as chocolate, pumpkin spice cappuccino, rice cakes, turkey, duck, quail, seafood, cranberry sauce, and mochi,” said Dana Weigel, deputy program manager for NASA’s ISS Program, quoted by SINDOnews from the page Space, Friday (10/11/2023).
The Dragon spacecraft will spend about a month docking with the ISS with CRS-29. According to NASA information, Dragon returned to Earth with a payload of around 3,800 pounds or 1,724 kg.
Dragon is the only cargo vehicle with this return capability. Meanwhile, the other two robot carriers currently operating are Northop Grumman’s Cygnus aircraft and Russia’s Progress vehicle, but they are not designed to return to Earth.