NASA and commercial partner SpaceX discussed its plans for a launch of its seventh cargo delivery to the International Space Station under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. The company’s Falcon 9 will carry its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the station from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and be filled with more than 4,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials for the science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 44 and 45.
The science payloads aboard will offer new insight to combustion in microgravity, perform the first space-based observations of meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere, continue solving potential crew health risks and make new strides toward being able to grow food in space. Research continues to support the twins study and one-year mission investigations with NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly. This mission also is launching more than 30 student experiments, all of which are flying under the U.S. National Laboratory managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).
The first of two International Docking Adapters for the station will be delivered in Dragon’s unpressurized trunk. The adapters will enable space station docking of commercial crew spacecraft, including the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon. Expedition 44 Flight Engineer Scott Kelly of NASA will use the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture Dragon with Station commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) supporting Kelly as they operate from the station’s cupola. After more than five weeks at the space station, the spacecraft will return with more than 1,400 pounds of cargo, including science experiments, crew supplies, hardware and computer resources, space station hardware, and trash.
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