SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches cargo to space station
by Paul Brinkmann
Washington DC (UPI) Jun 3, 2021
SpaceX launched tiny squids, medical experiments and improved solar panels for the International Space Station from Florida on Thursday afternoon.
The 7,300-pound cargo mission rose into a mostly cloudy sky aboard a Falcon 9 rocket as planned at 1:29 p.m. EDT from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
Eight minutes after launch, SpaceX recovered the first-stage booster by landing it on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
"We're actually flying a new booster this mission," Sarah Walker, the company's director of mission management for the Dragon capsule, said at a press conference Wednesday.
"This is the 17th mission that SpaceX has launched just in this front half of 2021 ... and the first one that's on a new booster."
SpaceX reuses first-stage boosters up to nine times, but the company is slowly introducing new boosters as the previously flown vehicles reach the limit.
SpaceX plans to dock the capsule at the space station early Saturday morning.
Two of the new 63-foot-long solar panels make up a large bulk of the cargo, curled up like a jelly roll inside SpaceX's Dragon capsule, according to NASA.
The panels will not replace the solar arrays on the space station, but rather augment them. The older solar panels are degrading after 20 years, said Matt LaPointe, technical director at California-based Deployable Space Systems, the contractor that built the new technology.
The solar panels are faceted so they can roll up easily, and they will spring into place on compressed rods, LaPointe said Wednesday.
"It's like a snap bracelet or a tape measure in reverse. They want to form out into this tube. So we don't need motors or anything like that to deploy them," he said.
The tiny squid on board are to be used in an experiment to determine how bacteria interact with cells in a living creature, according to the project researcher, University of Florida professor of microbiology Jamie Foster.
She's using larval bobtail squid because they utilize a type of bacteria in their anatomy to produce a glowing light in the wild. The squid will return to Earth in early July, after which Foster will study how the weightlessness of space affected the relationship between the bacteria and the animals.
In previous experiments, Foster found that weightlessness increased stress levels in the squid, but the bacteria helped to reduce stress.
Such research could help scientists understand how to keep astronauts healthy, she said.
"So having the beneficial microbes was helping the animal not have as much damage to the tissues and so far, so we want to validate that what we found on the ground using simulated micro data with the real thing and that's what we hope that this will show us I was like zero gravity flight or was a we'd have a way to simulate.
SpaceX's cargo mission, or CRS-22, is emblematic of the broad science and technology NASA can accomplish in low-Earth orbit, said Patrick O'Neill, communications manager for the space station's National Laboratory program, which is based at Kennedy Space Center.
"This mission is really a microcosm of what's possible," O'Neill said in an interview Wednesday. "So we have everything from Fortune 500 companies to academic organizations to students even sending payloads up. It ranges from life sciences to physical sciences to material sciences to cube satellites."
Axiom Space signs with SpaceX for 3 more private crew missions to ISS
Houston TX (SPX) Jun 03, 2021
Axiom Space revealed Wednesday that it has finalized a deal with SpaceX for three additional Dragon flights, on which Axiom would fly its proposed private crews on its next three fully commercial missions to the International Space Station. The landmark agreement between the industry leaders in human spaceflight as well as orbital services and launch, respectively, ensures the nascent commercial human spaceflight market's growth will subsist. "We are beyond excited to build upon our partnership wi ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.