NASA and SpaceX Dragon’s Latest Mission: NASA and SpaceX have achieved an exciting new milestone in space exploration with their latest cargo shipment to the International Space Station. Launched into orbit by SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, this cargo includes 6,200 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and other items for 30 days on board the station. Once docked with its destination, NASA and SpaceX plan on continuing this partnership for many more years to come.
Dragon is carrying to the space station a host of scientific investigations, including some groundbreaking studies on human health and disease.
These include 3D Heart Cells, Tissue; Engineered Heart Tissues-2; and the National Institutes for Health and International Space Station National Lab’s Tissue Chips in Space initiative. With these experiments, researchers hope to gain more insight into how microgravity impacts human health and disease on Earth and translate that understanding into improved treatment options for Earth citizens.
The Dragon spacecraft is also delivering the Student Ball Clamp Monopod Project, created by students participating in NASA’s HUNCH program to address astronaut comments regarding positioning video or still cameras at mid-module. This student-made product consists of an aluminum monopod equipped with a camera shoe and ball clamp that can be attached to any standard space station handrail for easy attachment.
In addition to groundbreaking health studies, the cargo shipment includes Liquid Life Support Systems. The CapiSorb Visible System study illustrates liquid control using capillary forces and should be an important consideration for future long-duration space missions where improved efficiency will support crews over months or years.
Similarly, ESA Biofilms investigation examines bacterial biofilm formation and antimicrobial properties of different metal surfaces under spaceflight conditions; providing additional insight to develop suitable antimicrobial surfaces for future spacecraft.
Finally, the Tanpopo-5 investigation from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency seeks to provide insight into whether terrestrial life can survive in space and aid scientists in discovering what created life on Earth. The experiment tests radiation-resistant microbes, moss spores, and biochemical compounds such as amino acids for their response to space exposure.
The Dragon spacecraft’s cargo shipment offers a glimpse of the hundreds of investigations taking place aboard its orbiting laboratory in biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, as well as Earth and space science.
Advancements 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. This is an historic moment in space exploration that could result in groundbreaking advances in human health care, disease prevention, and our universe’s understanding.
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