Ants, avocados, robot to ISS
GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)
A SpaceX shipment of ants, avocados and a human-sized robotic arm rocketed toward the International Space Station (ISS) on 29 August 2021. The delivery, due to arrive on 30 August 2021, is the company’s 23rd for NASA in just under a decade. A recycled Falcon rocket blasted into the predawn sky from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. After hoisting the Dragon capsule, the first-stage booster landed upright on SpaceX’s newest ocean platform, named “A Shortfall of Gravitas”.
- The Dragon is carrying more than 4,800 pounds (2,170 kilogrammes) of supplies and experiments, and fresh food including avocados, lemons and even ice cream for the space station’s seven astronauts.
- The Girl Scouts are sending up ants, brine shrimp and plants as test subjects, while University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists are flying up seeds from mouse-ear cress, a small flowering weed used in genetic research.
- Samples of concrete, solar cells and other materials also will be subjected to weightlessness.
- A Japanese start-up company’s experimental robotic arm, meanwhile, will attempt to screw items together in its orbital debut and perform other mundane chores normally done by astronauts.
- NASA turned to SpaceX and other US companies to deliver cargo and crews to the space station, once the space shuttle program ended in 2011.