SpaceX impressed the world yet again last week with a flawless ground landing of the Falcon 9 rocket and the fact that it became the first commercial space company to send a vehicle, the Dragon cargo capsule, into orbit twice.
Dragon delivered 6,000 pounds of cargo on its CRS-11 resupply mission to give the astronauts living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) a refresh of supplies in addition to some equipment for scientific research. Here is some of the cargo SpaceX delivered:
A common side effect of spending time in space is an osteoporosis diagnosis — the weakening of the bones. NASA researchers don’t know why, but the phenomenon has been found in both humans and animals in microgravity.
The Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis (Rodent Research-5) investigation builds on previous research — testing a drug that not only prevents bone loss, but rebuilds it, too. Researchers hope the drug could help millions of people on Earth who suffer from osteoporosis.
The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) is expected to be fired up on the ISS June 14 to study the composition of neutron stars.
According to Johnson Space Center in a statement, neutron stars “are the densest objects in the universe, and contain exotic states of matter that are impossible to replicate in any ground lab.” They’re left behind after a star explodes as a supernova. They emit X-rays that NICER can observe and record.
The Fruit Fly Lab-02 flew to the space station to understand why microgravity causes changes in the heart. According to the statement, reduced gravity can cause changes in heartbeat, total blood volume and lower aerobic capacity.
The fruit flies make good test subjects because they age quickly and have well-understood genetics. Researchers want to use the experiment to make a microgravity heart model to advance further cardiovascular studies and help prevent adverse heart effects from happening in the future.
This new solar panel concept could give power to thrusters on NASA spacecraft headed near the moon — or even to Mars.
Traditionally, solar panels are tucked away for launch and unfolded in orbit. The ROSA solar panels are less rigid, roll out like a tape measure and are much lighter and more compact.
In the future, this technology could give more power to commercial communication satellites orbiting Earth, NASA said.
Dragon will leave the ISS and splash back down to Earth in July and return some crew supplies and thousands of pounds worth of experiments.