NASA’s Dragon Delivers

The SpaceX Dragon was scheduled to dock at around 7am on April 10th 2016. The Dragon has safely made it to the International Space Station carrying three and a half tons of cargo for the astronauts stationed there. Among the cargo is the BEAM (Biglow Expandable Activity Module) and Microchannel Diffusion. The BEAM is scheduled to be added on as an expansion around the end of May. The addition is about 10 feet wide and around 13 feet long. The testing of the BEAM will take about 2 years in which time the astronauts will go into the module for a few hours on a scheduled timeline throughout the year to retrieve data and assess the condition of the expansion. The expansion testing is done to ascertain the durability of add on additions to the space station. The goal here is to expand the habitat of the astronauts to provide a larger area of living and working. Some of the data that will be collected will gauge how well the habitat stands up to solar radiation, contamination, and debris in space.

The Microchannel Diffusion that Dragon delivered will be studying fluids at an atomic level. The laws and reasoning that control the flow through nanoscale channels are what scientists are attempting to understand. By studying them at a larger microscopic level, they will use an investigative simulation of the process. The type of research that they’re doing can only be performed on the space station. The reason for this is because, in space, the Earth’s gravity isn’t strong enough to mess with the molecules in any of the samples. The scientific goal for, these studies will help in future space exploration, particle filtration, and drug delivery to specific parts of the body.

Update: Dragon has safely docked.

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