SpaceX has been launching cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Dragon capsule over the past decade. The vehicle has reliably transported vital equipment and science research, even mice, to the ISS Lab and safely brought back the experiments results to scientists on Earth. The aerospace company introduced an upgraded version of the cargo spacecraft in 2020 that is capable of carrying 50% more cargo than the previous version of Dragon. The new iteration also features the capability of docking autonomously to the Space Station’s Harmony module.
The upgraded Dragon has already flown twice under the company’s second NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract. Most recently, SpaceX conducted the 22nd CRS mission, during which the Dragon capsule transported over 7,300 pounds of cargo and returned a month later with around 5,000 pounds. On July 9, CRS-22 Dragon splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida south of Tallahassee. Now, less than a month later, SpaceX is preparing to launch the 23rd Dragon resupply mission to the orbiting laboratory.
NASA announced on Friday that the CRS-23 mission is scheduled for next month [date pending]. –“Liftoff of the Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket is targeted for late August from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida,” the agency said in a press release. “The spacecraft will deliver a variety of NASA science investigations to the station, including a study on preventing and treating bone density loss, an investigation that will test diagnostic devices that could detect and mitigate vision disorders, and a new robotic arm for demonstration that could reveal potential uses on Earth, including in disaster relief,” NASA representatives shared. “The capsule also will deliver materials including concrete, fiberglass composites, and substances that can offer protection against radiation, to investigate how they respond to the harsh environment of space. Additionally, nanofluidic and educational experiments will utilize the function of a new research facility aboard the orbiting laboratory.”
This Dragon spacecraft supported the CRS-22 mission. Source: SpaceX
Featured Image Source: Thomas Pesquet/ESA/NASA
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.