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SpaceX launch sends 3D bioprinter, supplies to space station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — A space capsule carrying a 3D printer to make 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 dodged threatening clouds in its Thursday evening lift-off sending a Dragon capsule on its third trip to the orbiting outpost. The ship will dock with the station early Saturday.

Dragon is carrying science experiments, several of which concentrate on cellular science, as well as normal supplies.

Officials at biotech companies nScrypt and Techshot Inc say the mini-refrigerator-sized 3D printer will be controlled by scientists on the ground and print nerve cells, muscle cells and proteins. The experiment uses the near lack of gravity to help the cells hold their shape.

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