SpaceX plans to launch a shipment of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), but engineers will use a different spacecraft for this flight. SpaceX will fly in its recently redesigned Crew Dragon 2 capsule – the same ship used to fly astronauts to the station.
This device was updated in several ways at once. SpaceX claims it can carry 50% more scientific payload. The new Dragon is also capable of automatically docking to the space station. The previous version had to dock: it slowly approached the ISS, while a crew member onboard the station, using a robotic arm, grabbed the incoming capsule and moved it to the open docking port.
This will be the first launch of a new and improved cargo spacecraft. Equipment, supplies, and payloads will be sent to the ISS. During the 64th and 65th expeditions, it is planned to carry out more than 250 research projects. Dragon SpaceX will return to Earth after about a month.
In the scientific part, the load on the ISS will be BioAsteroid. It will help study microorganisms’ growth on the stones’ surface to change their structure and extract minerals and metals. What’s more, microorganisms can turn rocks and solid materials into the soil to grow crops in the future.
Also on board will be the commercial Nano rocks gateway module, which will be attached to the outside of the ISS. It is designed to launch payload and other materials from the pressurized environment of the ISS into space.