SpaceX Cargo Dragon Docks at ISS Delivers 7300 Pounds NASA Science and New Solar Arrays

 

SpaceX Cargo Dragon Docks at ISS Delivers 7300 Pounds NASA Science and New Solar Arrays
SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft on the NASA CRS-22 resupply mission docked to the space-facing side of the International Space Station laboratory’s Harmony module at 5:09 a.m. EDT, Saturday, June 5, 2021. Credit: NASA

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Following a nearly two day orbital chase after blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, June 3 a brand new SpaceX Commercial Cargo Dragon successfully docked at International Space Station (ISS) early this morning Saturday, June 5 and delivered some 7300 pounds of new NASA science research on water bears and squid as well as the first set of new solar arrays to augment the power grid of the 20 year old outpost for its seven member resident multinational crew

While the International Space Station was soaring about 258 miles (415 kilometers) over the South Pacific Ocean, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the space-facing side of the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module at 5:09 a.m. EDT (0908 GMT), Saturday, June 5, as seen on a live NASA TV broadcast.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur monitored docking operations for Dragon from inside the station in the domed Cupola module.

Liftoff of the newly manufactured two stage 215-foot-tall (65-meter) Falcon 9 on the NASA SpaceX CRS-22 Cargo Dragon to the ISS took place at 1:29 p.m. EDT (1729 GMT) on June 3 from Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida during an instantaneous launch window.

New SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying new Dragon cargo ship lifts off at 1:29 p.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 3, 2021, carrying over 3.6 tons new solar arrays and science on the company’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA to the International Space Station with new solar arrays and science. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

This 22nd contracted resupply mission for SpaceX designated CRS-22 is on a delivery run packed with over 3.6 tons of supplies of science, research, experiments including water bears and squid, crew supplies, and vehicle hardware, including the new ISS Roll-out Solar Arrays (iROSA) housed in the Dragon trunk section, to the orbital laboratory and its Expedition 65 crew.

June 5, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Cargo Dragon vehicles, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus-15 resupply ship, all three from the United States, and Russia’s Progress 77 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. Credit: NASA

And the astronauts will begin unpacking the precious cargo

The robotic Canadarm2 will be used to extract the arrays and astronauts will install them during a pair of spacewalks planned for June 16 and 20.

Five visiting spaceships are currently parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon from Crew-2 and the Cargo Dragon CRS-22 vehicles, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus-15 resupply ship, all three from the United States, and Russia’s Progress 77 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.

The Cargo Dragon freighter is a very close variant based on the design of SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon human rated space ship – but minus the SuperDraco abort thrusters and some life support equipment.

 

Cargo Dragon docked autonomously at the space-facing side (zenith) port of the station’s Harmony module.

 

This 22nd cargo delivery mission for NASA to the ISS also marks SpaceX’s 17th launch of 2021 – a remarkable unrelenting launch cadence enabled by the routine use of recovered and recycled Falcon 9 first stages.

 

After Dragon spends about one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth via an ocean splashdown with about 5300 pounds of critical science and hardware for teams on Earth.

Among the science experiments Dragon is delivering to the space station is this description from NASA:

Symbiotic squid and microbes

The Understanding of Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions (UMAMI) study uses bobtail squid and bacteria to examine the effects of spaceflight on interactions between beneficial microbes and their animal hosts. This type of relationship is known as symbiosis. Beneficial microbes play a significant role in the normal development of animal tissues and in maintaining human health, but gravity’s role in shaping these interactions is not well understood. This experiment could support the development of measures to preserve astronaut health and identify ways to protect and enhance these relationships for applications on Earth.

These immature bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) are part of UMAMI, an investigation that examines whether space alters the symbiotic relationship between the squid and the bacterium Vibrio fischeri. Credits: Jamie S. Foster, University of Florida

Producing tougher cotton

Cotton is used in many products, but its production uses significant amounts of water and agricultural chemicals. The Targeting Improved Cotton Through On-orbit Cultivation

(TICTOC) study focuses on improving cotton’s resilience, water-use, and carbon storage. On Earth, root growth depends upon gravity. TICTOC could help define which environmental factors and genes control root development in microgravity. Scientists could use what they learn to develop cotton varieties that require less water and pesticide use.

Water bears take on space

Tardigrades, also known as water bears for their appearance when viewed under a microscope, are creatures that can tolerate extreme environments. The Cell Science-04 experiment aims to identify the genes involved in water bear adaptation and survival in these high-stress environments. The results could advance scientists’ understanding of the stress factors that affect humans in space.

Cell Science-04 flies tardigrades, or water bears, to the space station for a study seeking to identify the genes involved in its adaptation and survival in high stress environments. Credits: Thomas Boothby, University of Wyoming

On-the-spot ultrasound

The handheld, commercial Butterfly IQ Ultrasound device could provide critical medical capabilities to crews on long-term spaceflights where immediate ground support is not an option. This study will demonstrate the use of an ultrasound unit alongside a mobile computing device in microgravity. Its results have potential applications for medical care in remote and isolated settings on Earth.

Developing better robot drivers

An ESA (European Space Agency) investigation, Pilote, test the effectiveness of remotely operating robotic arms and space vehicles using virtual reality and haptic interfaces. Pilote studies existing and new technologies in microgravity by comparing those recently developed for teleoperation to those used to pilot the Canadarm2 and Soyuz spacecraft. The study also compares astronaut performance in using the interfaces on the ground and during spaceflight. Results could help optimize workstations on the space station and future space vehicles for missions to the Moon and Mars.

Bonus power

New solar panels headed to station are made up of compact sections that roll open like a long rug. The ISS Roll-out Solar Arrays (iROSA) are based on a previous demonstration of roll-out panels performed on station. They are expected to provide an increase in energy available for research and station activities. NASA plans a total of six new arrays to augment the station’s power supply with the first pair launching on this flight. The Expedition 65 crew is scheduled to begin preparations for spacewalks to supplement the station’s existing rigid panels this summer. The same solar array technology is planned to power NASA’s Gateway in lunar orbit.

These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory 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 through Artemis.

First two new IROSA rollout solar array wings for the International Space Station are rolled up inside the trunk of SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon CRS-22 capsule for launch Thursday, June 3, 2021 to ISS. Credit: SpaceX

 

The launch manifest is as follows:

  • ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays: 3,042 pounds (1,380 kilograms)
  • Science Investigations: 2,028 pounds (920 kilograms)
  • Vehicle Hardware: 760 pounds (345 kilograms)
  • Crew Supplies: 751 pounds (341 kilograms)
  • Computer Resources: 129 pounds (58 kilograms)
  • Spacewalk Equipment: 115 pounds (52 kilograms)
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will send the company’s Dragon spacecraft, filled with more than 7,300 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the space station to support expeditions 65 and 66. Credit: NASA

Since all went off well and ontime this CRS-22 mission was followed a few days later by the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of the SXM-8 comsat for Sirius XM slated for overnight Sunday, June 6. Apparently all the issues with the payload are resolved. The prior SXM-7 suffered problems in orbit post launch.

 

UpClose view of SpaceX Cargo Dragon integrated atop Falcon 9 rocket. Liftoff of the newly manufactured Falcon 9 NASA SpaceX CRS-22 resupply mission to the ISS is scheduled for 1:29 p.m. ET on June 3 from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Ken is onsite at KSC for live reporting of the CRS-22 mission.

 

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about SpaceX Cargo and Crew Dragons, Artemis and NASA missions, SLS, Orion, SpaceX  Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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New SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying new Dragon cargo ship lifts off at 1:29 p.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 3, 2021, carrying over 3.6 tons new solar arrays and science on the company’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA to the International Space Station with new solar arrays and science. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

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Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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