The U.S. space agency NASA's cargo provider SpaceX launched a Dragon spacecraft on Friday, starting its resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
The spacecraft, packed with about 2,500 kg of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support more than 250 science and research investigations, lifted off at 11:50 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time (0450 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the U.S. state of Florida.
NASA confirmed via its official twitter account that the Dragon is on its way to orbit on a cargo resupply mission to the space station about 10 minutes after its liftoff.
The reusable Dragon spacecraft previously supported two resupply missions in February 2017 and in December 2018, and the Falcon 9 first stage booster in this mission previously flew on the previous SpaceX resupply mission to ISS in December 2019.
ISS crew members will use the station's 17.6-meter robotic arm to capture Dragon and attach it to the orbiting lab on Monday, according to SpaceX.
Dragon's payloads include an experiment that will look at the complex structures of micron-scale colloidal particles, and how they assemble in microgravity conditions. The results may be used to develop more complex nano-scale structures for photonic and electronic devices.
Also, an experiment sent to the space lab will create midsoles for the sportswear company Adidas by blasting thousands of small pellets into a mold, making the shoes more comfortable.
The spacecraft will spend approximately four weeks attached to the ISS before returning to Earth.
The mission is the final flight for SpaceX under its first commercial resupply services contract with NASA. Afterwards, SpaceX is expected to use its newly-developed Crew Dragon to transport supplies to ISS.