On Monday, SpaceX successfully launched its Dragon Capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket to deliver about 2,900 kg of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). The payload included tons of scientific equipment, ice cream, and 20 live mice.

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch

The 65-meter-tall Falcon 9 was launched from Pad 30A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 12:31 p.m. EDT. About 8 minutes after the liftoff, SpaceX successfully landed its leftover rocket on a concrete platform at Landing Zone 1, about 9 miles from rocket’s departure point in pad 39A at Cape Canaveral.

This was 14th successful booster landing for SpaceX. To date, the company has reused two of its recovered first stage boosters to deliver supply to the space station.

NASA sent 20 live mice to the space station

The Dragon capsule is currently deployed about 280 kilometers above Earth and will reach the space station on Wednesday when astronaut Jack Fischer will give the command to the robotic arm to capture the capsule. The capsule is packed with a variety of items including food, clothing, toilet paper, espresso machine, etc., required to maintain the six-person crew at ISS. This time, NASA has also sent 20 live mice to the space station. According to NASA, the primary aim of sending these mice into space is to have a better understanding of why some male astronauts in space suffer from visual problems that are not experienced by female astronauts.

Over the next few days, researchers will try to measure the pressure in these mice’ eyes and study how fluids in their brain move. The experiment will be carried out under the supervision of Michael Delp of Florida State University. According to Delp, a mouse spending thirty days in space is comparable to an astronaut’s three years in space.

The mice will stay at ISS for about a month and then they will return inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule.

SpaceX Dragon capsule also carried with it in space protein crystals—on behalf of Michael J. Fox Foundation. This NASA-funded experiment will study cosmic rays, dubbed CREAM (Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass) that are believed to trigger Parkinson’s disease in humans.

The payload for this experiment will spend about three years in space—sampling particles created during cataclysmic supernova explosions. This type of device was earlier flown on high-altitude balloons.

Ice cream for astronauts

Dragon capsule had extra freezer space this time, so NASA packet it with chocolate, ice cream candy bars, cake ice cream, and cups of vanilla. The crew, especially American astronaut Peggy Whitson, is expected to like this treat. Whitson is on board ISS since November 2016 and is expected to return next month.