SpaceX today launched the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo ship, which carries 3.3 tons of cargo for the International Space Station, including research materials, various equipment and new solar panels. This is the 22nd ISS commercial resupply mission (CRS) for NASA.
The Falcon 9 took off from the Kennedy Space Center launch pad SLC-39A at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The first stage detached as planned and landed on a drone barge called Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean eight minutes after launch. The second stage, which put Dragon into orbit, separated 12 minutes after launch, also as planned.
Many experiments will be carried out with the materials and equipment on board Dragon. So, 5000 tardigrades (also called water bears) will be examined for habitation in space. On Earth, these organisms, living in moist soil, fresh and salty water bodies, the watery film of moss and lichen cushions, demonstrate amazing endurance and vitality – they are not killed by extreme temperatures or radiation. Scientists want to isolate the genes of tardigrades that are responsible for adaptation mechanisms.
128 glowing squids will take part in another experiment – on the symbiotic interaction of bacteria with host animals in zero gravity. Also, astronauts will study the effect of microgravity on the formation of kidney stones – it turns out that astronauts are especially susceptible to this pathology. Another experiment will be carried out using Colgate toothpaste to study its effect on oral bacteria.