SpaceX: Dragon Arrives on ISS With Ants, Avocados and Robotic Arm

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SpaceX: After successfully taking off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the early hours of Sunday (29), SpaceX’s latest Dragon mission arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) at 11:30 am EDT on Monday (30). Among the 2.2 thousand kg of supplies, experiments and hardware, what caught the attention was an unusual delivery: ants, avocados and a robotic arm.

Contact between the two orbital artifacts occurred after a “chase” that lasted more than 32 hours, when the Dragon capsule finally docked in the ISS Harmony module, 425 kilometers above Western Australia. There has been another SpaceX vehicle docked at the space station since April 23: the Crew Dragon “Endeavour”.

Upon arrival on the ISS, the astronauts were greeted by NASA colleague Megan McArthur, who is turning 50 today, with the message: “Congratulations to the NASA and SpaceX teams and thank you very much. birthday before”.

The weird cargo of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule

The ant colony that landed on the ISS today was sent by the Girl Scouts of the USA, along with brine shrimp (a crustacean “cousin” of shrimp) and some plants, for testing.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison sent seeds of mouse ear cress, a weed commonly used in genetic research. Some materials such as concrete and solar cells were also sent to be submitted to weightlessness.

The robotic arm, called the GITAI S1 Robotic Arm Tech Demo, was described by the crew as “a research that tests the development of robots to support the crew’s intravehicular activities and, eventually, extravehicular activities.” It is a replica. of human arm capable of performing tasks such as maintenance, assembly and manufacturing in orbit, replacing the work of astronauts.

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