When SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket roars off the launch pad from Kennedy Space Center in about 45 minutes, the Dragon spacecraft, set atop the launch vehicle, will be carrying a variety of important of NASA investigations. Here is a look at some of the important science aboard Dragon:
- An experiment to test an implantable, remote-controlled drug delivery system that will utilize a new research facility aboard the orbiting laboratory
- An investigation that will determine if metabolites from grape skins and seeds used in wine making could help prevent and treat osteoporosis
- A new robotic arm that could reveal potential uses on Earth, including in disaster relief
- Several Girl Scouts’ experiments that will study plants, ants, and brine shrimp in microgravity
About 12 minutes after launch of SpaceX’s 23rd commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station, Dragon will separate from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station. Arrival to the station is planned for Monday, Aug. 30, at approximately 11 a.m.
Dragon will dock autonomously to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module, with Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA monitoring operations. The spacecraft is expected to spend about a month attached to the orbiting outpost before it returns to Earth with about 4,200 pounds of research and cargo, splashing down off the coast of Florida.
Visit NASA’s website for more coverage of NASA SpaceX missions.