The SpaceX CRS-15 Mission to the International Space Station launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida at 2:42 am PDT this morning. In attendance were three students from the Nanaimo District Secondary School to witness a space mission that they have been working on since September.
The mission involves sending planarian flatworms into orbit to test the effects of micro-gravity and the supplement L-carnitine on muscle loss. A group of worms still in Nanaimo, and not sent into space, serve as a control group. Astronauts in space experience muscle mass loss and the experiment may yield insights that will help astronauts on extended missions.
The CRS-15 mission marked SpaceX’s fastest re-flight of a booster. The same booster launched the planet-hunting Tess satellite in April. The booster was topped with a used Dragon cargo spacecraft with 2,700 kilograms of supplies and science gear for the International Space Station. The cargo includes the spherical AI bot named Cimon, genetically identical mice, super-caffeinated coffee and the Nanaimo worms.