12:44 AM EDT, engines of Space-X’s Falcon-9 booster engaged, launching their Dragon spacecraft into orbit. Tucked away in the payload was our TangoLab-1 facility, preparing for its permanent installation in the Kibo module of the International Space Station, also known as the Japanese Experiment Module. This journey marked one small step towards Space Tango’s presence on the space station, and one giant leap for the future in microgravity research.
This launch was SpaceX’s 9th commercial resupply trip to the station, carrying a multitude of equipment and experiments for use in the unique conditions provided by microgravity. This two-stage rocket left Cape Canaveral early Monday morning on a trajectory to the International Space Station. About two and a half minutes after the launch, the first stage of this rocket separated and fell back to earth, preparing to re-land at Cape Canaveral. At 12:53 AM EDT the booster successfully landed a few miles south of the original launch pad, marking the 5th successful attempt of this kind for the SpaceX crew.
The Dragon facility continued into orbit, and is scheduled to arrive at the station at 7:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, July 20th. Appropriately, this date marks the 47th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the moon. This payload facility is loaded with 1700 kilograms of research, hardware, and supplies to be used onboard the station. In early August, our TangoLab-1 facility will be unloaded and installed in its new home in Kibo.
However, the work doesn’t stop here! TangoLab-1’s installation is just one step towards experimentation in microgravity. The Space Tango team is back at work, diligently preparing experiments for SpaceX’s 10th mission, scheduled to leave Cape Canaveral on November 21st, 2016. These experiments will be sent up in a similar fashion, loaded into the TangoLab-1 facility, and will begin sending data back to our teams here on Earth as we explore innovations in space for applications on Earth.
Learn more about our TangoLab-1 facility as well as the other equipment and research being sent to space in the following article: