SpaceX’s newest Dragon cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) early Sunday (November 27) to deliver tons of new supplies, new solar wings and even some ice cream for the orbiting lab.
robot Dragon spacecraft It docked with the orbiting laboratory on Sunday around 7:39 AM EDT (1230 GMT) as both spacecraft sailed high over the Pacific Ocean.
“We’re excited to unpack and get to work,” NASA astronaut Josh Cassada’s Mission Contro radioed from the station after the successful docking.
“We hope you will soon be enjoying the much-deserved and long-awaited ice cream,” replied Megan Harvey of Mission Control.
Dragon is packed with approximately 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms) of cargo. The statement includes two new ones International Space Station Roll Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs), gear designed to augment existing solar wings on the orbiting laboratory.
The ISS station will eventually house six iROSAs, which together will boost the station’s power supply by 20% to 30%. Astronauts in space have installed two of the new arrays so far.
Dragon also delivered a variety of science experiments to the International Space Station on this flight. For example, one study heading to the station will grow dwarf cherry tomatoes from seed in an effort to help increase food production out of the ground. Another investigation will continue in the former microgravity Research using 3D heart tissue (Opens in a new tab)testing potential treatments that could prevent or slow the progression of heart disease.
The current Dragon mission is called CRS-26, because it is the 26th robotic cargo flight that SpaceX has flown to the International Space Station for NASA. CRS-26 was scheduled to lift off on Tuesday (November 22) but it was I paid because of bad weather.
NASA officials said Cargo Dragons usually stay docked at the International Space Station for about a month, but CRS-26 will stay aloft for 45 days or so. The extra time was set aside, in part, to allow the spacewalks needed to install iROSAs.
CRS-26 will end up in ocean mist with the help of the parachute. Dragon is the only currently operational cargo ship that returns to Earth in one piece after its missions. The other two active cargo planes — Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus vehicle and Russia’s Progress vehicle — are designed to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere when their time in orbit ends.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Major Grand Publishers, 2018; illustration by Carl Tate), a book about the search for aliens. Follow him on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab) or Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
“Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff.”