SpaceX has once again successfully launched a large load of NASA cargo destined for the International Space Station. The launch happened on Thursday, December 6, from the Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40. Assuming everything goes according to plan, the cargo vessel will arrive at the ISS this weekend, bringing astronauts their latest batch of supplies and experiments.
NASA regularly sends thousands of pounds of cargo to the International Space Station using SpaceX as its launch partner. This cargo is necessary; it includes supplies that the astronauts require to live on the space station, as well as scientific equipment and new experiments. Some of the projects come from private companies that pay to have their work sent to the station.
NASA says that its latest batch of cargo weighs around 5,700lbs. Though it hasn’t revealed everything included on the vessel — most of it is probably very boring to the average person — it has provided details on some of the more interesting projects included in the shipment.
For example, the ‘Malting ABI Voyager Barley Seeds in Microgravity’ experiment will investigate malt produced in space, which will then be compared to malt produced on the ground in order to determine the effects of the microgravity environment. NASA provides the public with a large summary of the experiment on its website.
As we recently reported, NASA is also sending its ‘robot hotel‘ to the ISS, where it’ll be mounted on the exterior of the space station in order to house instruments used for detecting ammonia leaks. Other notable projects and items on their way to the ISS include studies on the spread of flames in a microgravity space and how to protect the bones and muscles of astronauts while they’re in space.