A SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule rendezvoused with the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday (July 16), delivering more than 5,800 pounds (2,630 kg) of supplies to the orbiting laboratory.
robotic dragon Launched in two phases Falcon 9 A rocket Thursday evening (July 14) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon 9 Dragon has been delivered to low Earth orbit, and the rocket’s first stage has returned to successfully land on SpaceX’s unmanned ship A Shortfall of Gravitas.
Dragon’s orbital hunt ended Saturday: The capsule docked with the International Space Station at 11:21 a.m. EDT (1521 GMT), while the two spacecraft were hovering 267 miles (430 kilometers) over the South Atlantic.
The current mission is SpaceX’s 25th cargo flight to the International Space Station for NASA, so it’s known as CRS-25. (CRS stands for “Commercial Resupply Services.”) The number has increased at a slow but steady pace of about two per year since the company’s first operational cargo mission to the International Space Station in 2012.
SpaceX’s overall launch cadence is much higher, of course: the CRS-25 launch was the 30th Falcon 9 Launch so far this year. in contrast, SpaceX It launched just 31 missions in all of 2021. According to Benji Reed, Senior Director of Human Spaceflight at SpaceX, the company is preparing to double that number by the end of this year.
“It just blew me away,” Reed told reporters during a conference call shortly after its launch Thursday night. Reed added, “The belief that we’ve launched three Dragons to the station already this year is fantastic, including the first commercial mission to the station and the NASA crew mission as well.”
The other two Dragon missions that launched this year – both in April – have been crewed. one called ax 1, transporting fee-paying customers to the orbiting laboratory on a flight organized by Axiom Space in Houston. was the other Crew 4SpaceX’s fourth contracted astronaut mission for NASA.
About half the weight of it the Dragon Transferred to the International Space Station on a CRS-25 dedicated to scientific research. NASA officials said the mission contributes to nearly 40 ongoing research projects taking place in the orbiting laboratory and has dropped a handful more.
One study, from the European Space Agency and the University of Florence in Italy, looks at the effects of microgravity On the stitched wound healing process. Another study from the University of California, San Francisco, will examine the relationship of the immune system to aging and the body’s ability to heal itself. There is also an investigation to study a special type of biopolymer concrete, which could aid the search for future building materials on the Moon.
The EMIT Experiment – an acronym for Investigating the Source of Earth’s Metal Surface Dust – will be loaded into the Dragon Box – from storage using the International Space Station’s robotic arm and mounted on the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 1, an exposed external payload container used for experiments and storage. EMIT will spend the next year studying the mineral composition of dust in Earth’s arid regions to help scientists better understand the planet’s global climate system.
Some of the CRS-25 cargo, while not part of other ongoing investigations, serves as a symbol of the science that keeps daily life going on the space station—and also highlights how miraculous we can operate a science lab in space at all. Dina Contella, director of NASA Operations Integration for the International Space Station, highlighted other instruments packaged aboard the Dragon.
“One of the elements is a back-up pump, which is critical to the toilet,” Contella said on Thursday’s press call. Dosing pumps are used to process urine before filtering and reclamation to turn it back into drinkable water — in case you forgot there was no water in space, and astronauts had to drink their own recycled urine.
“We’ve also launched some saltwater processor collection bags,” Contella said. “These allow us to recover more water from the effort of urinating.” [than] normal treatment. So a new bladder increases our ability to recover as much water as possible. It added that two filters for the station’s drinking water dispensers were also included in the Dragon Manifesto.
Dragon is expected to remain anchored to the International Space Station for about a month and be packed with equipment from the station before returning to Earth in a mist of water off the coast of Florida sometime in mid-August.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 11:55AM EDT on July 16th with news of the successful docking.
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