Day: April 14, 2015

SpaceX Launches NASA Cargo and Research To International Space Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the Dragon resupply spacecraft on the sixth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 4:10 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, April 14. Research that will help prepare NASA astronauts and robotic explorers for future missions to Mars is among the two tons of cargo on its way to the International Space Station aboard Dragon.

The mission is the company's sixth cargo delivery flight to the station through NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. Dragon's cargo will support approximately 40 of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will be performed during Expeditions 43 and 44, including numerous human research investigations for NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's one-year mission in space.

Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett via NASA http://ift.tt/1PJqGyI Amazing.

Solar Arrays on the International Space Station

Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency (ESA) photographed the giant solar arrays on the International Space Station on Feb. 12, 2015.

The space station's solar arrays contain a total of 262,400 solar cells and cover an area of about 27,000 square feet (2,500 square meters) -- more than half the area of a football field. A solar array's wingspan of 240 feet (73 meters) is longer than a Boeing 777's wingspan, which is 212 feet (65 meters). Altogether, the four sets of arrays can generate 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity -- enough to provide power to more than 40 homes. The solar arrays produce more power than the station needs at one time for station systems and experiments. When the station is in sunlight, about 60 percent of the electricity that the solar arrays generate is used to charge the station's batteries. At times, some or all of the solar arrays are in the shadow of Earth or the shadow of part of the station. This means that those arrays are not collecting sunlight. The batteries power the station when it is not in the sun.

Image Credit: ESA/NASA via NASA http://ift.tt/1FFwnWl Amazing.