SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket to ISS with student experiment on board

Launch time was 8:28 p.m. on Thursday

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket toward the International Space Station on Thursday night.

According to the company, the rocket will carried the Dragon spacecraft’s 29th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-29) mission to the ISS from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The rocket achieved liftoff at 8:28 p.m.

On board the ship were be supplies and science experiments, including one from a classroom at Pinecrest Academy Space Coast.

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Nicknamed the Bacteria Boys, eighth graders including Liam Hauser, Evan Ireland, and Eric Distasi wondered if blood from a horseshoe crab could detect harmful bacteria in space like it does on Earth.

NASA was so impressed, the boys were selected from more than 2,200 proposals across the country, and now as soon as Thursday night, their experiment could be on its way to the space station.

“Instead of having to send up rockets to supply medical equipment, we would just use our experiment to make it onsite,” Distasi said.

Two weeks after launch, the boys said astronauts will put their experiment to the test. NASA will livestream that demonstration so the boys can follow along here in class.

“Our amazing Bacteria Boys were able as a team to use all of their strengths and just design this amazing science experiment,” STEM director at the school Consuelo Kirk said. “They absolutely got an A on this experiment.”

As for the rocket, this was the second flight for the first-stage booster used in this mission, which previously was launched with the Crew-7 mission. This will also be the second flight for the Dragon spacecraft, which previously flew with CRS-26 to the ISS.

Dragon is scheduled to automatically dock with the ISS on Saturday around 5:20 a.m.

Following stage separation, the Falcon 9 rocket landed at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined in April 2022.

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.