SpaceX will launch its Dragon spacecraft for its 11th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre on June 1.
Dragon will lift into orbit atop the Falcon 9 rocket carrying crew supplies, equipment, and scientific research.
The flight will deliver investigations and facilities that study neutron stars, osteoporosis, solar panels and tools for Earth-observation.
“In addition to studying the matter within the neutron stars, the payload also includes a technology demonstration called the Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT), which will help researchers to develop a pulsar-based, space navigation system,” NASA said.
Here are some highlights of research that will be delivered to the orbiting laboratory:
New solar panels test concept for a more efficient power source.
Solar panels are an efficient way to generate power. However, they can be delicate and large when used to power a spacecraft or satellites. Employees pack them tightly for launch. When the spacecraft reaches orbit, they unfold. The Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA), is a solar panel concept that is lighter and stores more compactly for launch than the rigid solar panels currently in use.
Investigation studies composition of neutron stars.
Neutron stars are the glowing cinders left behind when massive stars explode as supernovas. These objects are the densest in the universe. They contain exotic states of matter that are impossible to replicate in any ground lab. Scientists call these stars “pulsars” because of the unique way they emit light – in a beam similar to a lighthouse beacon.
Investigation studies for a new drug on osteoporosis.
When people and animals spend extended periods of time in space, they experience bone density loss or osteoporosis. In-flight countermeasures, such as exercise, prevent it from getting worse. However, there isn’t a therapy on Earth or in space that can restore bone that is already lost.
The Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis (Rodent Research-5) investigation tests a new drug that can both rebuild bone and block further bone loss, improving health for crew members.