Washington: NASA launched SpaceX’s Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) carrying more than 7,000 pounds of science experiments, two new solar panels and other cargo, including blueberries.
Liftoff was scrubbed twice over the weekend due to bad weather. Finally, the uncrewed SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched at 11:47 am on Monday (9:17 pm IST) on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The cargo spacecraft will dock with the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module at around 5:50 pm (3:20 pm IST) and remain at the station for about 21 days.
The resupply mission carries more than 7,000 pounds of cargo to the orbiting laboratory. It includes a pair of IROSAs (International Space Station Roll Out Solar Arrays) that, once installed, will increase the power-generating capacity of the microgravity complex.
Currently, the space station has four IROSA panels. With the two new arrays, the ISS’s power generation capacity will improve by 20-30 percent and help the station remain operational until it is decommissioned in 2030, NASA said. The final pair of panels will be installed by astronauts later this month.
The spacecraft will also provide a European Space Agency probe to monitor thunderstorms from the space station; An investigation into the creation of second-generation plants using seeds previously produced in space and returned to Earth.
Cargo also includes a technique for measuring telomere length in microgravity, where methods commonly used on Earth are difficult to use due to gravity.
In addition to science experiments, astronauts on the ISS can also expect new foods, including cheese, cherry tomatoes, blueberries and apples, TechCrunch reported.
This is the 36th Falcon 9 mission so far this year, and the 28th time SpaceX has sent cargo to the ISS. The company conducts resupply missions on behalf of NASA as part of its commercial resupply services contract.
This post was last modified on June 6, 2023 at 2:02 pm