On Thursday, June 3, the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship was launched in one of Falcon 9 rockets from Kennedy Space Center carrying around 7,300 pounds of new solar arrays and scientific experiments, including glowing squids and tardigrades, Science Times previously reported.
The uncrewed SpaceX Dragon cargo ship marks the 22nd commercial resupply mission by SpaceX. Currently, there are two SpaceX Dragon spacecraft onboard the International Space Station (ISS), according to Space.com.
SpaceX Dragon CRS-22 Mission
The SpaceX Dragon CRS-22 mission docked at the ISS on June 5 to deliver new solar arrays and a bunch of research experiments and NASA supplies for the resupply mission.
The Dragon cargo ship is linked with the space station at 5:09 AM EDT (0900 GMT), parking at the station's Harmony module.
Moreover, the Dragon CRS-22 mission is the second uncrewed upgraded supply ship to dock at the space station. In the past, they use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture incoming cargo ships and manually attach them to the floating laboratory.
But the latest Dragon cargo ship was monitored by the two Expedition 65 crew members, namely NASA astronauts Kimbrough and Megan McArthur.
The cargo ship also becomes the second Dragon spacecraft currently onboard the space station. The first one brought four astronauts last April during the Crew-2 mission and is also currently docked at the Harmony module.
"Hard capture is complete and it's a great day seeing another Dragon on ISS [International Space Station]," spacecraft communicator Leslie Ringo radioed the station crew after the successful docking of the Dragon spacecraft according to Space.com.
SpaceX Contract with NASA
Elon Musk's company SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract with the American space agency, NASA, to keep the space station well-stocked, which includes 12 supply runs, according to the report of First Post.
However, The Verge reported that NASA's $2.9 billion moon lander contract with SpaceX was suspended last April after receiving two formal protests from its rivals.
SpaceX was chosen by NASA on April 16 to build the first Human Landing System (HLS) since the Apollo program several decades ago. The space agency's reliance on one company for a high-profile contract was unexpected as many believed that the HLS program would be given to two other companies, Blue Origin and Dynetics.
Due to that, NASA spokeswoman Monica Witt said that the $2.9 billion contract will be suspended until the Government Accountability Office (GAO) resolves all outstanding litigations.
Despite that, SpaceX continues to build its Starship rocket, with its successful landing of the prototype SN15 after more than 11 tries.
The HLS program award for SpaceX is likely the first step in a broader program to make sure the success of transporting humans to the Moon. ASA's human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders said that there will be new contract opportunities that will open up in the near future, especially with the growing commercialization of space transportation.
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