Gallery: Final Block 4 Falcon 9 Launches CRS-15

Gallery: Final Block 4 Falcon 9 Launches CRS-15

The Dragon spacecraft, meanwhile, last flew in July 2016 for SpaceX's ninth mission under the CRS contract.

The launch marks SpaceX's fastest repeat flight of a booster rocket: The same Falcon 9 launched the planet-hunting TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) satellite in April.

It's still unclear how useful CIMON will be.

And CIMON has trained some time on Earth with German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who is already on the ISS board.

Philipp Schulien, an engineer for CIMON's hardware contractor, Airbus, said extending astronauts' abilities in space is imperative for future space exploration journeys, like the crewed missions to Mars that are scheduled to take off as early as 2020. "It then will deploy its solar arrays and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station", NASA said.

About 10 minutes into the flight, SpaceX confirmed that the Dragon had successfully deployed from the rocket's second stage and was in a "good orbit".

Cimon's human handlers promised the first AI space bot will behave itself and said there would be no mutinous takeovers like HAL from the 1968 film classic 2001: A Space Odyssey'.

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The robot is created to guide Gerst through various science procedures, and show videos or pictures as needed.

"It was helpful to train it to recognize him so that it will come to him when he speaks". Gerst can also ask CIMON questions about those experiments on which he will work.

Faclon 9 also bears an earth science instrument called ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) to measure and check how plants respond to the water availability in the outer space.

Another experiment aims to help scientists learn how cells that line blood vessels grow in space in order to inform a novel cancer treatment.

SpaceX sent a cargo spacecraft on a resupply run to the International Space Station on Friday, carrying with it three tons of equipment that included a robotic "floating brain".

Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel, U.S. astronauts onboard the ISS, will use the Canadarm2 to grab the Dragon spacecraft.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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