SpaceX launch sends 3D bioprinter, supplies to space station

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A space capsule with a 3D printer to produce human tissue and about 5,000 pounds of other experiments and supplies is on its way to the International Space Station after a thunderous SpaceX launch.

The private company’s Falcon 9 rocket escaped threatening clouds as it took off on Thursday evening and sent a dragon capsule on its third voyage to the orbiting outpost. The ship will dock at the station at the beginning of Saturday.

Dragon is conducting scientific experiments, some of which are focused on cell research and normal stocks.

Officials at biotech companies nScrypt and Techshot Inc. say the mini fridge-sized 3D printer is controlled by scientists on the ground and prints nerve cells, muscle cells and proteins. The experiment uses the virtually absent gravity to help the cells maintain their shape.

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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