SpaceX sent its latest Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station, successfully launching on the company’s two-stage Falcon9 rocket on 4 June 2021. The mission, called CRS-22, is currently in orbit and includes 3,311 kg of research material and supplies to the ISS. The mission is transporting living specimens for biological experiments, new high-tech solar panels to install outside the station, and regular supplies including food.

What

  1. The Dragon is expected to autonomously dock to the space station’s Harmony module on 5 June 2021.
  2. It is the fifth Dragon capsule to fly to the station in the past 12 months. Another Dragon, which launched the Endeavour crew in April, is still parked at the station.
  3. Nine minutes after the launch, SpaceX also successfully steered the booster stage of its rocket, called B1067, to land on the sea barge named ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ in the Atlantic Ocean.
  4. This is the 86th recovery of a Falcon first stage in the past six years.
  5. The solar panels to be delivered in this mission are the first of three sets of high-powered, state-of-the-art panels that will augment the station’s power needs.
  6. Astronauts onboard the ISS will conduct two extravehicular activities in the form of spacewalks to install the two roll-out panels.
  7. The existing, rotating panels on either side of the ISS have been in continuous operation for over 20 years and can be seen from earth with the naked eye as they reflect sunlight when the ISS passes within line of sight.