'Floating Brain' Headed to ISS on SpaceX Cargo Run

Phil McAlister

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.

At 5:42 a.m. ET, the spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station situated in Florida; it was launched by one of the Falcon 9 series of rockets developed by the SpaceX Company.

CIMON will provide data for studies on AI crew support in long-term space missions.

SpaceX's spacecraft is scheduled to commence in August its mission to return to Earth to allow NASA to retrieve 3,800 pounds of hardware, research and supplies from the ISS.

Interaction between astronauts on the Horizons mission aboard the ISS will be used by Airbus and IBM to continue to improve how CIMON operates and assists humans in space.

"Dragon confirmed in good orbit", SpaceX tweeted about eight minutes after the launch, following completion of the second-stage engine burn.

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Manfred Jaumann, the head of microgravity payloads at Airbus, described CIMON as "a kind of flying brain".

"CIMON is created to support astronauts in performing routine work, for example by displaying procedures or - thanks to its "neural" AI network and its ability to learn - offering solutions to problems", Airbus explained in a news release. Gerst can also ask CIMON questions about those experiments on which he will work.

On Friday, the spacecraft was carrying 5,900 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies to support hundreds of investigations now happening aboard the International Space Station's laboratory. Viewers can watch the arrival and installation live on NASA Television and NASA.com beginning at 5:30 a.m. Monday, July 2.

Also among the cargo is a project to measure water stress in plants on Earth and how sertain regions may respond to climate change.

The Angiex Cancer Therapy will test effects of vascular-targeted agents on normal blood vessels.

Other experiments on board the Dragon include a new robotic hand, or latching end effector, for the space station's Canadian-made robotic arm.

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