Final Block 4 Falcon 9 Flies with Dragon

The last Block 4 Falcon 9 flew yesterday, boosting an unmanned Dragon capsule to the ISS for the CRS-15 mission (skip to about 18:50 for the launch):

Since this was the final Block 4 flight, SpaceX did not attempt to recover the booster.  This was, however, its second flight; Core 1045 helped launch the TESS satellite on April 18, which is just a 72 day turnaround to its second flight, SpaceX’s fastest reflight to date.

Unpressurized cargo includes the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) for JPL and a replacement latching end effector for the SSRMS.  Pressurized cargo includes:

  • Chemical Gardens (a crystal growth experiment)
  • an experimental carbon fiber “factory” for the private company Made In Space (the third one flown to date)
  • Crew Interactive Mobile (CIMON), a floating spherical robot trained to recognize and interact with European crewmember Alexander Gerst.
  • Rodent Research 7, which will study microorganisms in the guts of a colony of “mouseonauts”
  • BCAT-CS, a sediment research project
  • Three Cubesats called Biarri-Squad for a multinational experiment to study potential military applications for smallsats (these will be experimenting with laser rangefinding and GPS to maintain relative position data)
  • Three CubeSats from the Japanese-led multinational Birds-2 project performing a range of technology demonstrator experiments
    • One of the Birds-2 CubeSats is Bhutan-1 (aka Bird BTN), the Kingdom of Bhutan’s first satellite
    • Another is Bird PHL or Maya-1, the first Filipino CubeSat (not their first satellite
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