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'Flying brain' blasts off on cargo ship toward space station

02 July 2018
'Flying brain' blasts off on cargo ship toward space station

It will be the final launch of Falcon 9 block 4 of SpaceX on the old version of Mission Rocket, which is facing the company. "It then will deploy its solar arrays and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station", NASA said.

JPL's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) will provide a new space-based measurement of how plants respond to changes in water availability.

The spacecraft, packed with almost 2,700 kg of scientific gear, supplies and vehicle hardware, was lifted off at 5:42 a.m. local time (0942 GMT) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

An observational pilot study with the Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON), aims to get first insights into the effects of crew support by an artificial intelligence (AI) in terms of efficiency and acceptance during long-term missions in space.

"The Falcon 9 rocket powers the Dragon spacecraft toward the International Space Station", said a NASA commentator as the white rocket fired its engines and lit up the skies on a dark, Florida morning.

"Dragon confirmed in good orbit", SpaceX tweeted about eight minutes after the launch, following completion of the second-stage engine burn.

CIMON has been trained to recognize the voice and face of Alexander Gerst, 42, a geophysicist with the European Space Agency.

It will hover at the eye level of astronaut and its front camera can easily detect if the person it is facing is Alexander, or someone else.

It is also created to interpret his emotional state. For example, CIMON can run Gerst through a complex process with the help of pictures and videos displayed on your screen.

Dragon will fly with almost 6,000 pounds of cargo, supplies and science experiments as part of the 15th of 20 missions under a contract between SpaceX and NASA's Commercial Resupply Services program, also known as CRS-15. Each end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm has an identical LEE, and they are used as the "hands" that grapple payloads and visiting cargo spaceships.

Unlike previous Falcon 9 iterations, Block 5 is made to last for a long time.

With any luck, the rocket can be reused up to 100 times.