A SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Is Bringing a Robot, Avocados, and Ants to Astronauts

SpaceX is almost as enigmatic as its CEO Elon Musk. The company is constantly making headlines for dramatic failures or historic accomplishments. Here’s a riddle for you: what do a robot, avocados, and ants have in common? They’re all headed into space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The Falcon 9 rocket is headed on a resupply mission

Avocado fruits in a supermarket.
Avocado fruits in a supermarket | Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to Utah news station KSL, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket embarked on a resupply mission on Sunday, August 29th, 2021, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Where was the rocket bound? It was headed for the International Space Station on SpaceX’s 23rd NASA-related mission. The rocket was carrying some much-needed supplies.

The list of supplies ranged from food to experiment materials to common creature comforts. Among the oddest items (and animals) on the inventory list were a robotic arm, ants, and plenty of avocados. Yup, you read that right, avocados. You know…for space stuff.

The avocados were actually part of a list of food items specifically requested by the astronauts on the space station, along with items like ice cream and lemons. Gravity or no gravity, people need their guac. NASA’s space shuttle program ended way back in 2011, so SpaceX plays an important role in getting supplies to brave astronauts like the seven people that currently reside at the International Space Station.

SpaceX does everything that NASA can’t

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket | Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

NASA is historic. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has broadened our understanding of space. Established in 1958 under President Dwight Eisenhower, the company has spent billions of dollars and created hundreds of thousands of space research and exploration jobs. The company is all about expanding our knowledge of Earth and everything beyond it. But understanding the universe is too big a job for just one company.

SpaceX plays an important role in NASA’s operations. Every year, NASA gets a multi-billion dollar annual budget. The company has been using funds from this budget to contract SpaceX to go on missions similar to the Falcon 9’s recent resupply mission. In turn, the majority of SpaceX’s funding comes from contracts from organizations like NASA. The two companies are becoming increasingly codependent.

The more NASA contracts that SpaceX signs, the more funding it gets toward the companies’ personal goals and missions. It’s a win-win situation for both companies as well as the planet when we learn of news and discoveries surrounding these missions. If NASA needs something done that isn’t feasible for the company, it outsources the task to SpaceX.

What is SpaceX trying to accomplish?

The Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) logo seen displayed on a smartphone.
The Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) logo seen displayed on a smartphone. | Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

SpaceX has achieved 90 total landings and 128 total launches. The company is developing reusable launch vehicles that can be used to bring people to different space destinations. SpaceX’s primary goal is to make space travel as easy and common as possible.

Despite plenty of televised failures, the company has kept at it and developed some amazing space crafts. SpaceX has successfully completed plenty of NASA contracts. If any company exists that can make space travel more common, it’s SpaceX. The company’s main competition is Jeff Bezos’ self-funded Blue Origin, a company with a similar goal. When it comes to space travel, it doesn’t seem like SpaceX can be beaten.

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