SpaceX launches space plant babies, “blue jet” lightning study to space station 2023

SpaceX plans to launch a resupply mission to the International Space Station about noon today after weather delays.

At 11:47 a.m., a Falcon 9 will launch from Launch Pad 39-A at Kennedy Space Center with a Dragon spacecraft carrying roughly 7,000 pounds of supplies and research instruments. Upon range approval, Wednesday at 11:01 a.m. is a backup.

On Sunday, Space Launch Delta 45’s weather squadron predicted a 60% likelihood of fair weather Monday, rising to 90% if postponed until Wednesday.

Despite a successful Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on a Starlink mission

If CRS-28 launches, SpaceX will attempt a fifth recovery of the first-stage rocket on its droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic. The supply Dragon will dock with the ISS on Wednesday morning on its fourth space flight.

Dragon’s weight comes from the last pair of six new ISS Roll Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs) that will be deployed this month during two spacewalks. The $103 million upgrades for the station’s 2000-era arrays will provide 30% more power and keep it functioning until NASA’s 2030 departure.

Seven crew members are getting fresh apples, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, cheese, and tomatoes.

“SpaceX 28 launch brings a great mix of payloads to add to the over 3,700 investigations flown to the ISS to date,” said Dr. Kirt Costello, head scientist for the International Space Station Program Research Office, during a conference call Friday. 31 NASA and foreign partner investigations are traveling this time.

Anna-Lisa Paul and Robert Ferl of the University of Florida study plant genetics. SpaceX CRS-27 returned to Earth in April with seeds from plants growing in orbit. Planting these seeds returned them to space.

He added the benefits might include growing plants for numerous generations in space and adapting plant life in tough settings on Earth.

“It’s a very ambitious investigation, also one that really gets at the nature of living in a microgravity environment,” Costello said. “That makes it one of our most complex and ambitious missions.”

An ISS-based European Space Agency study, will observe thunderstorms.

Costello said Thor Davis is watching for upward-directed lightning above thunderclouds. The ISS is ideal for such observations. Blue jet and other lightning phenomena will be captured utilizing an electronic combination with a camera from a nadir window.

Boeing’s genetic experiment with 7th-12th graders will continue the year-in-space twin research of Mark and Scott Kelly. Telomeres, which safeguard human chromosomes, are measured. The Kelly twin research assessed these telomeres only when Scott Kelly was on Earth. This research measures them in orbit.

“Understanding the mechanism behind telomere lengthening could reveal possible effects on astronaut health during long-term missions,” according to a NASA news release. Results might potentially pave the way for future space travel and ground-based research.

Canadian Space Agency satellites are also being launched. The ISS Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer will launch them. Nanoracks-ESSENCE, an Educational Space Science and ENgineering CubeSat Experiment Mission, will study solar storms, Arctic ice, permafrost melt, and Canadian Arctic forests to detect climate change.

Nanoracks-Iris will circle Earth for months with geological samples to detect direct solar or background cosmic radiation.

“Results could provide insight into similar processes on planetary bodies and, when combined with data from asteroid sampling missions, improve understanding of asteroids’ origins,” NASA said in a press statement.

The cargo Dragon and Crew Dragon Endeavour, which carried the Crew-6 astronauts in March, will stay tethered to the ISS’s Zenith port for three weeks. They won’t return until Crew-7’s mid-August launch.

SpaceX launched 27 of the 28 cargo launches from KSC or Canaveral this year. SpaceX will have performed 38 orbital missions, including California launches, excluding its Starship and Super Heavy effort from Texas.

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