A SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule rendezvoused with the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday (July 16), delivering more than 5,800 pounds (2,630 kilograms) of supplies to the orbiting laboratory.
Robot Dragon launched atop a two-stage Falcon 9 A rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday night (July 14). The Falcon 9 delivered the Dragon to low Earth orbit and the rocket’s first stage fell back for a successful landing on the SpaceX drone A Shortfall of Gravitas.
Dragon’s orbital chase ended Saturday: the capsule docked with the ISS at 11:21 a.m. EDT (1521 GMT), with the two spacecraft flying 267 miles (430 kilometers) above the South Atlantic.
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The current mission is SpaceX’s 25th cargo flight to the ISS for NASA, so it’s known as CRS-25. (CRS stands for “commercial supply services.”) Since the company’s first operational ISS cargo mission in 2012, that number has roughly doubled every year, but at a slow but steady pace.
SpaceX’s overall launch cadence is, of course, higher: CRS-25’s flight was the 30th. Sahin 9 launch this year so far. On the contrary, SpaceX In 2021, it carried out a total of 31 missions. According to Benji Reed, SpaceX’s director of human spaceflight, the company plans to double that number by the end of this year.
“It kind of blew my mind,” Reed told reporters during a conference call shortly after the launch Thursday night. “It’s pretty cool to think that we’ve sent three Dragons to the station this year,” Reed added, “including the first commercial mission to the station and a NASA crewed mission.”
Two other Dragon missions that took off this year — both in April — were crewed. One called Axe-1, a flight organized by Houston company Axiom Space took customers to an orbiting laboratory. It was another Crew-4SpaceX’s fourth astronaut mission under contract for NASA.
About half that weight Dragon It was transported to the ISS in CRS-25 and dedicated to scientific research. NASA officials said the mission contributes to about 40 ongoing research projects at the orbiting laboratory and launched several more.
A study from the European Space Agency and the University of Florence in Italy examines the effects. microgravity about the healing process of sutured wounds. Another, from the University of California, San Francisco, will study the immune system’s relationship to aging and the body’s ability to heal itself. There is also research into a special type of biopolymer concrete that could help in the search for future construction materials on the moon.
Loaded into Dragon’s hull, the EMIT experiment, short for Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation, will be launched using the ISS’s robotic arm and mounted on ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 1, an open external payload bay 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 payloads, while not part of other ongoing research, serve as symbols of the science that sustains daily life aboard the space station, while also highlighting how miraculous it is that we can operate a science laboratory in space. all. Dina Contella, NASA’s operations integration manager for the ISS, highlighted other equipment packed aboard Dragon.
“One item that is essential for the toilet is a backup dosing pump,” Contella said at a news conference Thursday. Dose pumps are used to treat urine before the filter and reclamation process to turn it back into potable water – if you forget that there is no water in space and astronauts have to drink their own recycled urine.
“Also, we’ve launched several brine processor assembly pouches,” Contella said. “These allow us to expel more water from the urinary effort [than] normal processing. So the new bladders further increase our ability to recover as much water as possible.” He added that two filters for the station’s drinking water dispensers were also included in Dragon’s manifest.
The Dragon is expected to remain on the ISS for about a month, loaded with supplies from the station before returning to Earth with a splash off the coast of Florida in mid-August.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on July 16 at 11:55 a.m. EDT with news of the successful docking.
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