NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 1:29p.m. EDT, Thursday, June 3, to launch its 22nd commercial resupply services mission to theInternational Space Station. Liftoff will be from Launch Complex 39A at the agencys Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceXs Dragon spacecraft will deliver new solar arrays to power future work aboard the orbiting laboratory, along with new science investigations, supplies, and equipment for the international crew.Live coverage will air on NASA Television, theNASA app and the agencyswebsite,with prelaunch events starting Wednesday, June 2.
Dragons pressurized capsule will carry a variety of research, including an experiment that could help develop better pharmaceuticals and therapies for treating kidney disease on Earth, a study of cotton root systems that could identify varieties of plants that require less water and pesticides. The research also will include two model organism investigations: One will study bobtail squid to examine the effects of spaceflight on interactions between beneficial microbes and their animal hosts. The other will examine tardigrades adaptation to conditions in low-Earth orbit, which could advance understanding of the stress factors affecting humans in space.
The mission will include technology demonstrations, including a portable ultrasound device. Additionally, astronauts will test the effectiveness of remotely operating robotic arms and space vehicles using virtual reality and haptics interfaces.
Dragons unpressurized trunk section will deliver the first two of six new roll-out solar arrays based on a design tested on the space station in 2017. A robotic arm will extract them and astronauts will install them during a series of spacewalks this summer.
About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon will separate from the Falcon 9 rockets second stageand begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station. Arrival to the space station is planned for Saturday, June 5. Dragon will autonomously dock to the space-facing port on the stationsHarmony module, with Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA monitoring operations.
The spacecraft is expected to spend more than a month attached to the space station before it splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean, returning with research and return cargo.
Full coverage of this mission is as follows (all times Eastern):
Wednesday, June 2