CRS-8 (Falcon 9)
8 April 2016
Space Launch Complex 40
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
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SpaceX’s eighth contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) launched almost 7,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. The Falcon 9 rocket launched the cargo-laden Dragon spacecraft on 8 April 2016 at 4:43 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The unpressurized trunk of the Dragon spacecraft holds the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which will be attached to the ISS to demonstrate expandable in-space habitat technology. Dragon also carries twenty female mice for an investigation into skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness in mice exposed to long-duration spaceflight continuing research into solving these same problems which occur in humans on long-duration spaceflights. After four weeks at the space station, the Dragon spacecraft will return with more than 3,500 pounds of cargo, including science experiment samples, space station hardware, and trash.
The surveillance helicopter from Patrick Air Force Base flew around the area prior to launch.
Launch Complex 40 was hidden behind Complex 39A giving the illusion the rocket was lifting off from the latter pad. In the near future, that will be true since SpaceX is working to convert 39A to support Falcon 9 and Falcon 9-Heavy launches.
Following first stage separation, the first stage of the Falcon 9 successfully carried out a landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship several hundred miles offshore.
About an hour or so after launch, two NASA T-38 jet planes roared off from the old Shuttle Landing Facility, turned west, and headed into the Sun. Most likely these are astronauts heading back to Houston, Texas. for the weekend after doing work at Kennedy Space Center. A few days later the droneship returned to Port Canaveral with the first stage booster aboard. View photos of the first stage in Port.
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