Dragon Launch Set for March 6, Station Bone Research Benefits Earth

The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship launches
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship launches Dec. 5, 2019, atop the Falcon 9 rocket on its last mission from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX has announced March 6 for the launch of its 20th contracted cargo mission to the International Space Station. Its Dragon resupply ship will arrive March 9 with over 5,600 pounds of science hardware, research samples and supplies to the Expedition 62 crew.

Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan are tending to a new experiment, which was delivered early last week aboard Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft. The astronauts are exploring the differences between bone cells exposed to microgravity versus samples magnetically levitated on Earth.

Doctors will use the comparisons to gain a deeper understanding of bone diseases. Space-caused bone loss is similar to the symptoms of Earth-bound conditions such as osteoporosis. Astronauts exercise daily keeping track of their diet to counteract the effects of microgravity and maintain healthy bones and muscles.

Meir and Morgan continue to unpack the over three tons of cargo shipped aboard Cygnus one week ago. The duo transferred powered payloads including science freezers containing research samples and tanks filled with nitrogen and oxygen to replenish the station’s atmosphere.

Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos was back on space physics research this morning observing the behavior of heavily charged particles, or plasma crystals. The three-time station resident also serviced life support gear before collecting measurements from Russian radiation detectors.

2 thoughts on “Dragon Launch Set for March 6, Station Bone Research Benefits Earth”

  1. When I went to the Museum of Science and Industry as a child many years ago, they had a stationary
    bike hooked up to a light bulb. When you pedaled, the light bulb would light up for a few moments.
    So, I wondered if the exercise equipment the astronauts use could be hooked up to charge batteries, as long as they have to exercise anyway? That way you would get both exercise and electricity!

    1. The space station is powered by solar energy collected from solar arrays that track the sun. New lithium-ion batteries that were installed over several spacewalks store that energy and distribute it to station systems.

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