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SpaceX launches 14th Space Station resupply mission

Falcon 9

This is SpaceX's 14th supply mission for NASA. But with possible showers in the forecast, a contingency plan has the mission launching on Tuesday, when there is less chance of rain.

"This is the second supply mission for NASA for which we not only use a launcher already in use but also a Dragon capsule who has already flown to the International Space Station", Jessica Jensen, the director of the Dragon missions within SpaceX, declared before the launch.

The Falcon 9, a previously flown cargo vessel loaded with over two and a half tons of equipment and supplies, shot into space for its second two-day flight to the ISS from Cape Canaveral, CBS News reported. The Dragon flying this mission first launched to the station on its eighth CRS mission in April 2016, while the first stage made its first flight on the 12th CRS mission in August 2017.

SpaceX did not attempt to recover Falcon 9's first stage after launch.

Scientists say it will showcase technologies that could be used to clean up an estimated 7,600 tonnes of junk orbiting the Earth, ranging from old spacecraft to flecks of paint.

You can watch live coverage of the Dragon's arrival here at Space.com starting at 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT), courtesy of NASA TV. It takes about 30 minutes for Dragon to reenter the Earth's atmosphere and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. It will stay at the ISS until May when Expedition 56 will send it back to Earth. "This flight delivers scientific investigations looking at severe thunderstorms on Earth, the effects of microgravity on production of high-performance products from metal powders, and growing food in space", NASA officials said in a statement.

The capsule was loaded with almost 2,600 kg of food and scientific equipment, including a study project to research the storms on Earth.

The space station is now home to astronauts from the US, Russia and Japan. A variant of the Dragon spacecraft, called Crew Dragon, is being developed for USA - based crew transport to and from the space station. It's also a fantastic example of the unique expertise found in the UK's growing space sector and the value that it adds to global projects. But there's more to SpaceX than meets the eye.