NASA announced that SpaceX’s next cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for June 3rd [time pending]. The mission will be SpaceX’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-22) for the agency. It will be the second time SpaceX utilized the upgraded version of its Dragon spacecraft that will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft is expected to autonomously dock to ISS Harmony module by June 4th. There will be two SpaceX vehicles docked at the Space Station soon. Crew-2 astronauts arrived to ISS aboard Dragon Endeavour on April 24.
The upgraded cargo Dragon is capable of carrying about 20% more volume than the previous version of the cargo capsule “has double the amount of powered locker cargo capability,” SpaceX stated in a press release, “Dragon is now designed for up to five flights to and from the space station, and this cargo version of the spacecraft can stay on station more than twice as long as the previous version of Dragon.” For NASA’s SpaceX CRS-22 mission, Dragon will carry over 6,400 pounds of important cargo. Some of the cargo that will be transported aboard Dragon to the orbiting laboratory include: materials for an experiment that could help develop better pharmaceuticals and therapies for treating kidney disease on Earth, as well as a study of 'cotton root systems' that could identify what plants require less pesticides and water.
The Dragon capsule will also carry small animals and microbes that are alive. One experiment will research a bobtail squid to ‘examine the effects of spaceflight on interaction between beneficial microbes and their animal hosts.’ “Another will examine tardigrades' adaptation to the harsh environment of space, which could contribute to long-term problem solving for vaccine production, distribution, and storage on Earth,” the agency shared. All of these are very delicate experiments that will be placed inside Dragon’s pressurized capsule to maintain everything alive. Dragon’s unpressurized trunk will also carry cargo that includes hardware to upgrade the Space Station including a portable ultrasound technology, and the first two of six new roll-out solar arrays.
“Each resupply mission to the station delivers scientific investigations in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars,” NASA said in a media release, “Space station research through the ISS National Laboratory also provides opportunities for other U.S. government agencies, private industry, and academic and research institutions to conduct microgravity research that leads to new technologies, medical treatments, and products that improve life on Earth.”
Featured Image Source: NASA/SpaceX
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.