SpaceX Dragon docks to ISS with science, solar panels and holiday treats

SpaceX Dragon docks to ISS with science, solar panels and holiday treats

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Less than a day after launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft carrying a new slate of science supplies has arrived at the International Space Station.

NASA confirmed that the spacecraft was captured overhead on the ISS’ Harmony module at 7:39 a.m. EST.

What do you want to know

  • The Cargo Dragon from the CRS-26 mission arrived at the International Space Station shortly after 7:30 a.m. EST Sunday
  • This mission kicked off the last scheduled flight of a new Cargo Dragon spacecraft
  • SpaceX Cargo Dragon 211-1 will remain docked to the ISS for 45 days
  • The mission brought solar panels, CubeSats and science experiments to the ISS

NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann watched the Cargo Dragon spacecraft arrive until docking Sunday morning.

“Great job out there today. Excited to unpack and get to work,” Cassada told Mission Control in Houston after the Dragon performed a soft capture with the Space Station.

“Yeah, absolutely! You have a room full of happy flight controllers here. It’s exciting to see SpaceX Dragon 26join the ISS,” replied Megan Harvey, CapCom for the mission. “Hope you can enjoy your well-deserved and long-awaited ice cream soon!”

Sunday morning’s docking brought 7,777 pounds (3,528 kg) of science supplies and cargo to the orbiting outpost. As noted with the ice cream reference, it also included a collection of Thanksgiving treats for the Expedition 68 astronauts, which would have arrived in time for the holidays, had it not been for last week’s weather delay.

“We will have frozen treats and ice cream for the crew. We will have Thanksgiving type foods such as spicy green beans, cranberry desserts, almonds, pumpkin pie, candy corn, just a number of items,” said program manager Joel Montalbano. NASA’s ISS at Spectrum News during a pre-launch. media teleconference.

“Also, our standard food menu allows them to have everything we eat on Thanksgiving, you know, mashed potatoes, sweet yams, mac and cheese, for those who want mac and cheese for Thanksgiving. So we’re going to feed them very well for Thanksgiving.

The CRS-26 launch was the first mission for Cargo Dragon 211-1, the latest new Cargo Dragon set to be added to the SpaceX fleet. This brings the total number of Dragons to seven (four crew, three cargo) until the debut of a newly announced Crew Dragon, which is targeting its maiden flight in 2024.

Beneath the pressurized Dragon capsule in the trunk are a pair of ISS Deployable Solar Panels (iROSA). It is the second set to arrive at the ISS, after the first, which was launched with the CRS-22 mission in June 2021.

iROSAs, which are built by Florida-based Redwire Space in partnership with Boeing and Spectrolab, a Boeing subsidiary; are the third and fourth arrays to head to the ISS. Once all six are installed, they should increase the power of the station by up to 30%, from 160 kilowatts to 215 kilowatts.

During a pre-launch conference call with media, Montalbano described the new solar panels as “critically important.”

“In addition to the two solar arrays slated for delivery on SpaceX-26, we have life support equipment being delivered, GPS equipment, exercise equipment and medical equipment,” Montalbano said.

He noted that due to the time required to install the new iROSAs, this Cargo Dragon will remain docked to the ISS for 45 days, longer than the typical 30 days for an uncrewed Dragon.

The crew aboard the Space Station will use the Canadarm to remove the iROSA wings from the Dragon Chest. iROSA’s Wing 3 will be installed during a spacewalk on Dec. 3, which is scheduled to begin at 7:25 a.m. EST. and last up to seven hours. NASA is aiming for December 19 at the earliest to install Wing 4.

Back on Tuesday, November 15, NASA astronauts Frank Rubio and Cassada performed a spacewalk to install support hardware for the third and final set of iROSAs targeting launch in 2023.

In addition to the iROSAs, four CubeSats were also launched for NASA’s Educational Nanosatellite Launch (ELaNa) 49 mission. They join four others to form the 24e mission for Nanoracks’ CubeSat Deployer mission, which will drop the following CubeSats from the ISS:

  • SPORT – 6U Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), Technical Institute of Aeronautics in Brazil (ITA), National Institute for Space Research in Brazil (INPE), NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center, with the participation of the State University of Utah, The Aerospace Corporation, Goddard of NASA Spaceflight Center and University of Texas at Dallas (NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative)
  • LORIS – 2U Dalhousie University – Canadian CubeSat project (Canadian Space Agency)
  • ORCASat – 2U University of Victoria – Canadian CubeSat Project (Canadian Space Agency)
  • DanteSat –3U NPC SpaceMind (Italy)
  • NUTSat – 2U Gran Systems (Taiwan)
  • smallSat – 6U NASA Goddard (NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative)
  • MARIO – 3U University of Michigan (NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative)
  • TJREVERB – 2U Thomas Jefferson High School, Virginia (NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative)

These CubeSats join a host of other science experiments, like the seeds for the Veg-05 experiment to grow and harvest dwarf tomatoes as well as the Lunar Microscope, a type of blood smear imaging designed to perform in space this which is a common medical test. on earth.

In addition to NASA-supported payloads, the Melbourne-based ISS National Laboratory also helped sponsor a number of experiments that were sent to the Space Station as part of the CRS-26 mission.

The next scheduled mission to head to the ISS will be the launch of the SpaceX Crew-6 mission on February 15, 2023.

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