A Falcon 9 rocket launching in December 2018. Photo: SpaceX

An uncrewed SpaceX Dragon capsule is on its way to the International Space Station.

Why it matters: The Dragon is carrying thousands of pounds of supplies, experiments and hardware for NASA. Those supplies include a new docking adaptor, spacesuit parts and Nickelodeon slime.

The big picture: The rocket launched Thursday was a previously flown Falcon 9, and the Dragon it carried is on its third trip in space. The Falcon 9 came back in for a smooth landing on the ground in Florida about 10 minutes after launch.

  • The Dragon is expected to make it to the space station on Saturday.

Details: That reusability is key to SpaceX's business plan, which is aimed at reducing the cost of spaceflight through reuse.

  • This landing marks the company's 44th successful booster recovery.
  • The mission is SpaceX's 18th official cargo run to the station for NASA.
  • SpaceX is also testing a crewed version of its Dragon capsule that is expected to fly NASA astronauts to the station at some point in the next year.

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