SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft – carrying more than 5,800 pounds of critical science, equipment and crew supplies – is en route to the international space station after a successful launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The company‘s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at 8:44 p.m. EDT, beginning SpaceX’s 25th resupply services mission to the orbiting lab.
Dragon is now safely in orbit with its solar panels deployed and drawing power for the nearly two-day journey to the space station.
“We are excited to continue to help transport this type of cargo for NASA and also to transport the crew members who are the key to doing research and running things on the station,” Benjamin Reed said. , Senior Director of Human Spaceflight Programs at SpaceX. . “All of this, of course, is not possible without our partnerships with NASA, with the Space Force and all of our customers. We can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to be a part of this and to be part of this great scientific community.
The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Saturday, July 16. Upon arrival, Dragon will autonomously dock with the station’s Harmony module while NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines monitor operations. Live coverage of Dragon’s arrival will air on NASA Television on Nasa appand the agency website starting at 10 a.m. EDT. Mooring is scheduled around 11:20 a.m.
In addition to providing station supplies and equipment, Dragon will also provide several scientific investigations and research. One of them is the investigation of sources of mineral dust on the Earth’s surface (EMIT). Developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, TRANSMIT will use imaging spectroscopy technology to measure the mineral composition of dust in arid regions of the Earth to better understand its effects on the planet.
The spacecraft will also provide five CubeSats, or small satellites, with different focus areas; an investigation using tissue chips to study the aging of immune cells; and an experiment on an alternative to concrete using organic materials and site materials. These are just a few of the more than 250 investigations that will take place during Expedition 67.
“The next few weeks are going to be very busy aboard the International Space Station with all the experiments and cargo that Dragon is bringing,” said Dina Contella, operations integration manager for NASA’s International Space Station program. . “I really want to congratulate the SpaceX and NASA teams again on another great launch, and I can’t wait for the Dragon to dock on Saturday.”
Dragon will spend about a month tethered to the space station before undocking on its own and returning to Earth with research and return cargo, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean.
To stay informed of all resort activities, follow @space station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts. Or follow the station blog at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/.