SpaceX is preparing to launch its 22nd NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-22) mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard its Dragon capsule. The CRS-22 mission is scheduled to liftoff on June 3rd at 1:29 p.m. EDT. A Falcon 9 rocket will propel Dragon to orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying a variety of science equipment and supplies to conduct research at the orbiting laboratory. Read more: Find Out What SpaceX Dragon Will Deliver To The Space Station During Upcoming CRS-22 Mission
The University of Manchester in England announced this week that SpaceX’s CRS-22 mission will also carry the university’s Earth-observation satellite called ‘SOAR,’ which is an acronym for: Satellite for Orbital Aerodynamics Research. The satellite is a 3U CubeSat that will launch aboard the capsule to ISS then it will be released to orbit by Nanoracks CubeSat deployer, an infrastructure that carries small satellites from different organizations. Astronauts use the space station’s robotic arm to release the satellites inside the Nanoracks deployer towards their designated orbit.
The SOAR satellite is part of the University of Manchester’s €5.7 million DISCOVERER project which aims to improve Earth observation satellites. “The satellite represents the culmination of a huge amount of technology development over many years. We’re breaking new ground with a satellite designed specifically to explore aerodynamic effects in very low Earth orbits, whilst simultaneously measuring atmospheric parameters such as density and composition,” said Dr Peter Roberts, the scientific coordinator for DISCOVERER. The university is developing technologies to enable the satellite to operate at a very low orbit under 450-kilometers where it can capture high-quality aerial images of Earth’s surface and gather data with its remote-sensing capabilities. “Whilst in orbit the satellite will be controlled from a ground station based on the University campus where experiments will be conducted and analysed,” the University shared in a press release, “Data received from the satellite will be delivered back to scientists who will study the interactions between the residual atmosphere in these low orbits and new materials developed at the University that could reduce drag and increase aerodynamic performance.” Learn more about the SOAR satellite in the video below.
UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER SOAR SATELLITE
Featured Image Source: University of Manchester