KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), November 12, 2021 – Last night, SpaceX’s 3rd Crew Dragon mission (Crew-3) contracted by NASA successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS). The mission took flight from Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, November 9, bringing four additional astronauts to the ISS. When the Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully docked with the ISS last night, the crew welcomed NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Mashburn, and Kayla Barron, along with European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer. The Crew-3 astronauts will live and work onboard the orbiting laboratory for the next six months as part of the Expedition 66 crew.
During their time on station, the crew will conduct a wide variety of research—up to half of which is sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory. In December 2021 and early 2022, NASA Commercial Resupply Services missions are scheduled to replenish the space station with critical research and supplies. Those missions will include a multitude of ISS National Lab-sponsored investigations that represent research and development from the private sector, academia, research institutions, and other government agencies. Research leveraging the ISS National Lab leads to scientific discoveries and new technologies that bring value to our nation and drive a robust market in low Earth orbit.
The Crew-3 mission also carried multiple payloads to the space station, including an ISS National Lab-sponsored investigation from the National Cancer Institute. This project aims to crystallize adenine riboswitch RNA onboard the ISS in an effort to obtain higher-quality crystals for use in X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) crystallography back on the ground. Many crystals grown in microgravity are more uniform with fewer imperfections than crystals grown on Earth. Results from this project could help advance a method of crystallography that allows researchers to better understand how the structure of molecules changes during complex interactions. Such information could enable improved drug design to treat diseases in patients on Earth.
Additional information on all ISS National Lab-sponsored research launching to the orbiting laboratory will be provided at the time of each upcoming Commercial Resupply Services mission. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, including current research opportunities, please visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.
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About the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory:
The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS) manages the ISS National Lab, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.