SpaceX to Launch Docking Port 'Parking Spot' in Space for NASA
SpaceX is one of NASA's partners in terms of transporting goods and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). Using the company's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo ship, SpaceX successfully delivered cargo to space multiple times. But today, their rockets will carry a different type of payload; SpaceX will carry a docking port or a parking slot to space for NASA.
Early morning on July 18, SpaceX successfully launched a special docking port for astronauts and a science instrument, a DNA decoder that will be used for high-flying genetic research. Along with the mission to transport cargo for NASA, SpaceX also successfully brought its booster back to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a step towards developing their reusable space rocket technology. And it looks like SpaceX will not stop there. "A really good day," Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of flight reliability for SpaceX said in a statement.
Their Falcon 9 rocket carrying critical pieces of equipment heading towards the ISS is fulfilling the unmanned mission after last year's unsuccessful attempt to deliver another docking setup than turned into a "rocket accident casualty", according to ABC News.
But why is there a need for a new type of docking system or space parking spot for astronauts? It is reported that NASA will launch a new type of crew capsules next year and the agency is preparing the ISS to receive such advancements. A couple of commercial space technology developers are working on this project like Boeing, which are Starliner and of course, SpaceX with its Dragon cargo ship for astronauts.
The Dragon is carrying approximately 5,000 pounds of ISS cargo and the $26 million docking port that will be used for the launched of Beoing and SpaceX' crew capsules next year. "We're looking forward to this mission," Joel Montalbano, deputy ISS program manager for utilization said in a statement published by Florida Today. "It's bringing critical supplies, critical hardware," Montalbano added.
The space package is expected to arrive on the ISS on Wednesday, July 20.