What’s on Board? Science and Tech with Big Implications

The SpaceX Dragon capsule secured atop the Falcon 9 rocket measures 12 feet wide and 23.6 feet long. Tucked inside are 6,913 pounds of cargo, including more than 250 science and research investigations planned for use during the space station’s Expeditions 47 and 48. These investigations include a mix of commercial and academic payloads aimed at advancing NASA’s journey to Mars while making discoveries off the Earth that can benefit life on Earth.

For more information on the specific payloads flying on SpaceX CRS-8, check out this in-depth overview.

Also catching a ride to the station today is the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, that will attach to the space station and demonstrate expandable in-space habitat technology. Once attached to the station, the BEAM will expand to roughly 13 feet long and 10.5 feet wide, providing a large-volume area in which astronauts will periodically retrieve sensor data and assess the module’s condition during its two-year test mission.