The rocket was initially meant to take off Tuesday, but was delayed for a day after engineers discovered moldy mouse food in one of the science investigations created to study the effect of microgravity on the immune system.
Most recently, a Falcon 9 that launched from California included a booster with two previous launches under its belt. Though the launch team tried to get everything back in place for a Tuesday liftoff, they couldn't quite make it work - hence a delay to the following day. NASA discovered Monday that the food for the mouse-tronauts was mouldy. The Dragon capsule, which previously traveled to the Space Station in February 2017, will be loaded with almost three tons of equipment, food, spare parts and scientific experiments. The Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge is sponsoring student experiments to develop a UV-activated dental glue that could help astronauts on long-duration voyages and another testing a mist-based irrigation system for plants grown in space.
When the Dragon arrives, it will join five other spacecraft already at the station.
The Dragon was the third space station supply ship launched to the station in less than a month. Six spacecraft is the maximum the space station has held, according to NASA spokesperson Dan Huot. Overall, Wednesday's flight was the ninth space station resupply mission launched this year.
See that small space station?
The International Space Station now has six crewmembers; three arrived Monday (Dec. 3), and three have been there since June. The crew-carrying version of Dragon is schedule to fly a test mission next month, and if all goes well, will carry astronauts to the station later in the year in what would be the first crewed flight from USA soil since the space shuttles retired in 2011.
The Dragon space capsule that flew on Wednesday was used once before, on a supply mission in February 2017. The others return home on December 20, leaving only three for Christmas dinner, not counting the mice and worms.