LIFTOFF! Today, June 3 at 1:29 p.m. EDT, SpaceX Falcon 9 launched from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex-39A in Florida, carrying NASA cargo and tiny organisms aboard the Dragon spacecraft towards the International Space Station (ISS). The mission is SpaceX’s 22nd cargo mission under NASA’s second Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-22) contract. Dragon is carrying over 7,300 pounds of cargo, including crew supplies, hardware to upgrade ISS, as well as dozens of science supplies to conduct research and experiments. Cotton plants, Tardigrades, and bobtail squids also rode to space atop Falcon 9 this afternoon. The tiny organisms will be part of a research that could provide scientists insight into how the most resilient creature on Earth, Tardigrades, adapt and reproduce microgravity. The bobtail squids will be part of a research that aims to examine how space affects interactions between beneficial microbes and their animal host. Dragon will also deliver goodies to the astronauts, like avocados, apples, lemons, oranges, and their favorite coffee. Among the payload, are ten CubeSats by different universities that will be deployed under NASA's ELaNa 36 (Educational Launch of Nanosatellites) program.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/hFhQBHhalx— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 3, 2021
The Falcon 9 that deployed Dragon to orbit is a new first-stage booster, identified as B1067. The rocket returned from orbit soon after releasing the upper-stage and landed flawlessly on the ‘Of Course I still Love You’ droneship in the Atlantic Ocean, video below. It marked the 86th landing of an orbital-class rocket! SpaceX aims to use Falcon 9 boosters in the Block 5 series at least 10 times. The next time B1067 flies will be on SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission set to take place in Autumn.
Falcon 9’s first stage booster has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship pic.twitter.com/AKBKjGAVnz— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 3, 2021
Approximately 12-minutes after launch, the uncrewed Dragon spacecraft separated from the upper-stage to initiate its journey to towards the Space Station. As the vehicle separated, the upper-stage’s onboard camera captured footage of inside Dragon’s unpressurized trunk, where it is carrying two iROSA solar arrays to upgrade the Space Station’s power system, video below. The agency plans to send a total of six solar arrays. Once installed, the six iROSA arrays will collectively produce over 120-kilowatts of energy at the ISS Lab. Each solar array will be rolled out and installed during spacewalks.
Dragon is operating autonomously as engineers at SpaceX’s Mission Control monitor operations from the ground. Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory until Saturday, June 5. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, who are flight engineers working at the Space Station, will monitor as Dragon docks autonomously to the ISS Harmony module this weekend. The capsule will remain docked to the station for one month, then astronauts will load it with supplies and science research results to return it to Earth. You can watch the CRS-22 launch in the video below, courtesy of SpaceX. Author's note: Thanks for supporting TESMANIAN! Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
SpaceX CRS-22 MISSION
Featured Image Source: 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.