SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS), to deliver 7,000 pounds of critical supplies and payloads for the space station crew, said the NASA on Sunday Morning. The mission will allow researchers to “revolutionize work and life” on the ISS.
The Dragon spacecraft was launched to low Earth orbit with a Falcon 9 rocket, from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the state of Florida. A similar mission was achieved in 2012, when the Dragon delivered cargo to the ISS and then returned to earth.
This time, the SpaceX’s spacecraft carried almost 7,000 pounds (3,000 kilos) of cargo, including material to support scientific investigation for Expeditions 47 and 48. The latter include musculoskeletal research, chemistry and tech research that will help the NASA on the road to reach Mars.
NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman said in a press release that researchers will analyze how microbes affect the health of the ISS astronauts and their equipment. Expedition 47 began on March 1 and will extend to June 5.
“The cargo will allow investigators to use microgravity conditions to test the viability of expandable space habitats, assess the impact of antibodies on muscle wasting, use protein crystal growth to aid the design of new disease-fighting drugs” Mr. Newman added.
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which has arrived in the Dragon’s unpressurized trunk, will be attached to the ISS in the next five days. NASA said that astronauts will enter the module to recover sensor data.
— NASA (@NASA) April 10, 2016
Expandable habitats like the BEAM are designed to occupy less room on a rocket, however, once they are expanded they will provide astronauts with more space for living and working. Moreover, investigators will analyze the effectiveness of the new habitat at protecting against solar radiation, space debris and contamination, said NASA.
For instance, astronauts are affected by decreases in bone density and muscle mass when working on long missions if they do not receive a proper nutrition and make exercise. With new investigation carried to the ISS by the Dragon, researchers will be able to conduct tests on new drugs.
Elon Musk is committed to create reusable space technology
The SpaceX CEO took his Twitter on Friday to thank all those who have supported Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity over the years. On the same day, he said at a NASA’s press conference that the same Falcon 9 rocket, used to launch the Dragon spacecraft, could be re-launched in May or June.
It would be the first time in history that an orbital rocket like the Falcon 9 travels to space for a second time. The entrepreneur has explained that after the rocket arrives to land, it will be rigorously checked to see if its engines are working. However, before SpaceX launches the vehicle again, the company will fire its engines 10 times in a row.
— Tim Kopra (@astro_tim) April 10, 2016
Source: NASA/ SpaceX Press Kit