SpaceX’s 28th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) will launch from the Kennedy Space Center no earlier than Saturday, June 3, 2023, at 12:35 pm EDT. This mission will carry several investigations sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory, ranging from regenerative medicine research to technology demonstrations, small satellites for deployment, and student-led experiments.
CLINGERS (Flight Tech Demo of Docking/Undocking CubeSats Inside ISS)
University of Southern California
PI: David Barnhart
This project seeks to demonstrate a new spacecraft docking system called CLINGERS. The investigation will test docking and undocking maneuvers of CLINGERS with Astrobee, NASA’s free-flying robot on the space station. The CLINGERS docking system combines a mechanical system with rendezvous sensors to connect both active and passive objects in space. These functions are critical to enable in-orbit fueling and servicing (repair, upgrades, etc.) missions for spacecraft and satellites. Additionally, docking and undocking reconfiguration capabilities are critical in the future low Earth orbit economy, as they reduce cost and extend the useful life and performance of spacecraft and satellites.
Implementation Partner: NASA Ames Research Center
PI: Christopher Cummins
Six CubeSats will fly to the space station for deployment—five are student-led projects in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency, and one, called “Moonlighter,” is a first-of-its-kind in-orbit cyber security test bed. Moonlighter was developed by Aerospace Corporation in coordination with the Air Force Research Laboratory and Space Systems Command. This project, supported by Nanoracks, will allow government and industry professionals to conduct real-time cyber security testing in orbit for the first time. Moonlighter will also be part of a cyber security challenge supported by Aerospace Corporation, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Space Force in which cyber security professionals will compete for a chance to hack the CubeSat while it is in orbit.
Implementation Partner: Nanoracks
Genes in Space 10
Boeing (in conjunction with miniPCR)
PI: Scott Copeland
The Genes in Space-10 student experiment, led by Pristine Onuoha from East Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina, will test a method to measure telomeres (sections of DNA that protect chromosomes) in space. The main goal of the Genes in Space program is to spark students’ interest in science and engineering and to provide access to hands-on educational experiences in DNA science, genetics, and biotechnology in space. Data from NASA’s Twins Study supported earlier research that the harsh environment of space can cause cellular degeneration in astronauts, yet researchers have found that telomeres, which are known to shorten with aging, actually lengthen during spaceflight. The Genes in Space-10 experiment will utilize polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology in an assay to measure telomere length on the space station through DNA amplification. Results could shed light on the normal aging process on Earth and the body’s ability to endure long-term space travel.
Implementation Partner: miniPCR
Microgravity Crystal Growth of Photovoltaic Semiconductor Materials
PI: Debbie Senesky
This investigation aims to leverage microgravity to improve the synthesis of materials for higher-efficiency and more economical photovoltaic devices (which convert sunlight into electricity) for solar energy applications. Renewable energy sources contribute 22% to global electricity generation, and photovoltaic devices are a fast-growing contributor to solar energy solutions. In this project, the research team seeks to anneal copper indium sulfide (CulnS2) semiconductor crystals in microgravity to reduce defects that occur when the crystals are produced on Earth.