The new version of the Space X Dragon spacecraft is due to make its first orbital flight on Sunday when the Falcon 9 rocket will launch a stuffed Dragon 2 to the International Space Station.
The new Dragon can carry 50 percent more scientific payloads compared to the previous version, according to SpaceX. The launch is the 21st for the Elon Musk rocket company as part of a Supply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.
In addition to procurement for the astronauts and the station, CRS-21 will conduct several experiments to the ISS, includingin space. A number of biological studies will use technologies such as chip tissue and brain organoids that can be used to simulate human tissue and record how it responds to microgravity.
Another ship’s experiment is a Bioasteroid, which aims to help determine if organisms such as fungi can be used to help extract valuable rare earth metals from asteroids for blasting or even maintain the foundations of other worlds.
“Let’s look at whether those microbes can get the elements we would really like to use in the asteroid surface and interior industry,” said Charles Cockel, chief biosteroid researcher, in a NASA video below.
Dragon also flies the new Nanorax air lock module, which is similar to the Japanese air block already on the ISS, but significantly larger. New infrastructure can allow cubes or other payloads to be deployed in space from the space station.
The Falcon 9 booster that lifts Dragon 2 will make its fourth flight and should land on a drone boat in the Atlantic minutes after the explosion. The kite should join the ISS approximately 24 hours after launch.
The launch was scheduled for Saturday, but has since been delayed due to bad weather until Sunday, Dec. 6, at 8:17 a.m. (11:17 a.m. ET) from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Whenever the mission gets off the ground, we will surely install the live stream so you can watch it here.