SpaceX CRS-17 launched from Cape Canaveral on an all-new Falcon 9 rocket 4 May 2019 0248 UT. The reused Cargo Dragon capsule previously flown on CRS-12 in 2017 is bound once more for the International Space Station, where it is due to arrive 6 May 2019 1100 UT.
The 2500 kg cargo manifest includes over 20 science payloads, including the experiment selected by the “Genes in Space” competition, proposed by students from Woodbury High School and Mounds View High School in Minnesota. The experiment will use CRISPR-Cas9 to damage yeast cells and test their ability to self-repair DNA; the payload will also perform an on-orbit PCR. CRS-17 is also carrying an Iowa algae study, a Montana yeast pathogen study (among other human cell flex-chips), and the ingredients for cancer drug crystals and drug-delivery nanoparticles, which will be fabricated on-orbit.
Launch coverage included a high-quality infrared view of the Falcon 9 first stage descent and stunning continuous video of its landing on Of Course I Still Love You, which is a pleasant change from the usual interruption that often happens to the video feed right around when the booster reaches the deck.
In the end, CRS-17 was delayed from yesterday’s scheduled departure not by weather, but due to a faulty generator on the recovery ship. SpaceX repaired the vessel onshore and returned it to the landing zone off the Jacksonville coast. A minor helium leak at the pad (not from the rocket) was also repaired.