NASA to send resupplies to ISS: Check the mission items
NASA and SpaceX will launch the 26th Commercial Resupply Mission (CRS) to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US on November 22. The launch window opens at 3.54pm EST (2.24am IST, November 23). The Dragon spacecraft will carry an interesting supply of items including tomatoes, a diagnostic kit, Falcon Goggles, solar arrays, and construction items like liquid resin.
Why does this story matter?
- The CRS-26 will be a resupply mission to the ISS. The launch vehicle will be a reusable, two-stage rocket called Falcon 9, designed and manufactured by SpaceX.
- The Dragon spacecraft will carry a variety of items, including elements for space agriculture and biotechnology studies. It should dock at ISS on November 23 at 6.30 am ET (5.00 pm IST).
There is a backup launch date on November 26
Dragon's CRS-26 mission will take off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. After stage separation, Falcon 9's first stage will land on the droneship 'Just Read the Instructions' in the Atlantic Ocean. In case the launch is canceled, the mission will take off on November 26 at 2.20 pm ET (12.50 am IST, November 27).
A dwarf cherry tomato variety will be sent to ISS
In addition to the conventional pre-packaged diet, astronauts will get fresh food on the ISS. A dwarf cherry tomato variety, called Red Robin, will be sent to the space station to see how it grows there. It yielded favorable results during ground testing. Interestingly, a variety of leafy green vegetables on the Veggie (Vegetable Production System) unit on ISS is already under analysis.
Scientists aim at creating nutrients on demand during space missions
Maintaining the health of astronauts during prolonged space missions becomes difficult since several of the essential vitamins have a limited shelf life. Scientists have developed BioNutrients-2, a heated incubator system, for producing nutrients on demand. "This experiment adds follistatin, a protein therapeutic used to maintain muscle mass, as well as fermented milk products yogurt and kefir," said NASA in a blog post.
Falcon goggles will help astronauts adapt to changing gravities
"Astronauts may encounter three different gravity fields: weightlessness while traveling in space, the gravity of another planet, and Earth's gravity when they return," explained NASA. "These transitions can affect spatial orientation, head-eye, and hand-eye coordination, balance, and locomotion and cause some crew members to experience space motion sickness." To promote adaptability, Falcon Goggles will capture a high-speed video from the perspective of the astronaut.
The medical diagnostic kit will be upgraded
A portable microscope and a blood sample staining device will be a part of the in-flight medical diagnostic kit. "An astronaut collects and stains a blood sample, obtains images with the microscope, and transmits images to the ground, where flight surgeons use them to diagnose illness and prescribe treatment," said NASA. This technique could improve medical monitoring on the upcoming Artemis and Gateway missions.
The solar arrays will boost power by 20-30%
Three packages of solar arrays will be sent to ISS. It should provide a 20-30% increase in power for research and operational purposes on the space station. Previously, two roll-out solar arrays (iROSAs) were installed there in 2021. "The solar cells are immensely more powerful than previous generations. We made minor modifications to the hardware for subsequent launches that improve operational efficiency," said NASA.
In-space construction will be possible using liquid resin
Gravity on Earth causes the deformation of large objects used in construction. On the other hand, the conditions in space allow the fabrication of longer and thinner structures, without any deformity. In-space construction of solar arrays and other equipment could be carried out using liquid resin. By a method called extrusion, the resin could be molded into different shapes and forms.