SpaceX’s 23rd NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-24) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for December 22nd. A Falcon 9 rocket will propel a Dragon capsule to orbit at 5:06 a.m. EST, from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dragon will arrive before Christmas Eve to the orbiting laboratory by Wednesday, December 22 at around 4:30 a.m. EST [date is subject to change]. The astronauts working at the Space Station are expected to receive some presents and goodies to celebrate the holidays in orbit, as well as dozens of science supplies and equipment to conduct important research.
Dragon is expected to deliver over 4,000 pounds of a variety of cargo, including a device that 3D prints tissues over wounds, called ‘Bioprint First Aid’. It is a portable handheld device by the German Space Agency, that uses a patient’s own skin cells to create a ‘tissue-forming patch’ bandage over open wounds that enables a much faster healing process. NASA says that using bioprinting to heal wounds will be useful for future human expeditions to the Moon and Mars. Testing the device in zero gravity environment will enable scientists to review the bioprinter's performance and determine whether it is an efficient way heal wounds faster. To use the device for long duration missions medical scientists plan to extract an individual’s cells before a mission and if they get injured the device would provide a customized treatment to quickly treat an injury.
“On human space exploration missions, skin injuries need to be treated quickly and effectively,” says project manager Michael Becker from the German Space Agency. “Mobile bioprinting could significantly accelerate the healing process. The personalized and individual bioprinting-based wound treatment could have a great benefit and is an important step for further personalized medicine in space and on Earth.”
The handheld device will be tested by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer in microgravity. He received specialized training to use the Bioprint First Aid, pictured below. Maurer is part of SpaceX’s Crew-3, he arrived to the ISS aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft on November 11, alongside NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Kayla Barron, Tom Marshburn. They are all tasked with performing science research with the supplies that will be delivered by CRS-24 Dragon in a couple weeks. Other science research that they will receive includes: Equipment to research cancer drugs and treatments, plants that will be monitored to assess how they adapt to space environment, and the crew will even test a detergent to clean their clothing in outer space.
ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer training to use Bioprint Firstaid./Source: ESA
Astronauts living at the Space Station wear an item of clothing multiple times, then replace the clothing when SpaceX Dragon delivers new clothes on resupply missions. NASA says that resupply missions will not take place often for astronauts working on Moon and Mars, so Proctor & Gamble Company (P&G) has developed Tide Infinity detergent for long-duration missions. The detergent is fully degradable to maintain a clean and healthy environment. “From a scientific standpoint, the major challenges for off-planet laundering include the strict requirements for compatibility with the air purification systems, the limited amount of water available per each wash treatment, and the requirement that the laundry wash water be purified back to drinkable water,” says Mark Sivik, a research fellow at P&G. You can watch the video linked below to learn more details about the cargo SpaceX CRS-24 Dragon will deliver to the ISS Laboratory.
VIDEO: Science Launching on SpaceX's 24th Cargo Mission To The Space Station
Featured Image Source: NASA & ESA
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
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.