NASA’s Virtual Guests Share Solar Power Hopes as Resupply Launch Nears

Image of engineers at NASA working with solar arrays in scientific setting
NASA and Boeing workers help position the solar arrays onto flight support equipment inside the high bay of the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 2, 2021. The 63- by- 20-foot solar arrays will launch to the International Space Station on NASA SpaceX’s 22nd commercial resupply mission on June 3, 2021. Photo credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

With new solar arrays headed to the International Space Station on NASA SpaceX’s 22nd commercial resupply mission, we asked our virtual guest registrants what they wish could be powered by solar energy. We received over 3,400 responses! A whopping 13 percent of our virtual guests supported solar power for “everything” or “anything.” Among the ideas were many suggestions for how solar could be used on the space station – we’re pleased to share that the orbiting laboratory has been using solar power since 2000.

Besides the space station itself, getting around with solar energy was top of mind for guests. Transportation was the most mentioned category, with 25% of responses mentioning cars and nearly 100 people mentioning planes. Ships, trains, bikes, and rockets were also suggested.

Human beings were a surprising response – nearly 40 people volunteered that they, or their brain, would benefit from solar power. Apparently the coffee and espresso just aren’t cutting it. One brave soul suggested that his wife be converted to solar power as she currently “costs a fortune in chocolate!”.

Our younger virtual guests submitted great responses. They suggested solar powered disco balls, robots to help the astronauts, and ice cream makers. One multi-tasking 11-year-old wished for solar video game controllers so she could sit outside and play.

Finally, some of our favorite answers were appeals to humanity’s better nature. What if solar could feed our hopes for a better future? Or power empathy as well as kindness and peace? Would be amazing! As we look forward to the experiments the new solar arrays will power on the space station, and to launch itself, we hope the sun’s powering something great in your day.

New Solar Arrays Ready for Launch to International Space Station

The first two of six new solar arrays for the International Space Station have been loaded into Dragon’s unpressurized spacecraft trunk for CRS-22.
The first two of six new solar arrays for the International Space Station have been loaded into Dragon’s unpressurized spacecraft trunk. Photo credit: SpaceX

The first two of six new solar arrays for the International Space Station have been loaded into Dragon’s unpressurized spacecraft trunk. SpaceX will deliver them to the orbiting laboratory during its next cargo resupply mission, targeted for June 3 at 1:29pm. The arrays will provide additional electrical power for the numerous research and science investigations conducted every day, as well as the continued operations of the station. Spacewalking astronauts will install the two new arrays in two spacewalks that will take place in June.

NASA Offers Virtual Guest Passport Stamp for Commercial Resupply Launch

NASA’s virtual passport program started in 2020 as a way for the public to commemorate its virtual engagement in NASA launches and milestones with the NASA Virtual Guest Program.NASA Virtual Guest Program

The stamp for the NASA SpaceX 22nd commercial resupply mission will be the eighth stamp offered through the program and the fourth stamp for a launch from Kennedy Space Center.

The Falcon-9 rocket with Cargo Dragon spacecraft will lift off from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on June 3, carrying supplies and science payloads to the International Space Station.

NASA's Virtual Passport stamsAnyone can receive a stamp by registering to let NASA know they’re participating virtually. Those who register will receive emails with curated launch resources, notifications about NASA activities, and updates on any launch time or date changes.

Whether it’s your first stamp or your eighth, NASA hopes you’ll print, fold, and get ready to fill your virtual passport. Stamps will be emailed following docking to all virtual attendees who registered by email.

NASA, SpaceX Announce Target Launch Time for Next Resupply Services Mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and uncrewed Cargo Dragon just before liftoff at Kennedy's Launch Complex 39A.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft stand poised for launch moments before liftoff at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Dec. 6, 2020, for NASA and SpaceX’s 21st Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station. The first launch for SpaceX under NASA’s CRS-2 contract, the mission blasted off the pad at 11:17 a.m. EST. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 1:29 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 3, for the company’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, topped by the uncrewed Cargo Dragon spacecraft, is scheduled to lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This will be the second SpaceX mission to deliver science investigations, supplies, and equipment for NASA under the agency’s second Commercial Resupply Services contract. To date, SpaceX has completed 21 cargo resupply missions to and from the space station, providing more than 100,000 pounds of supplies and approximately 80,000 pounds of return mass.

Tune in to NASA TV and the agency’s website for live coverage, beginning Wednesday, June 2, with prelaunch activities.

To learn more about the mission, visit