Four astronauts are sent to the International Space Station (ISS) from Florida through a collaboration program of NASA and SpaceX under the Commercial Crew Program.
About the Crew-2 mission
- The mission is second crew rotation of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and is first with international partners.
- It is a six-month science mission.
- Astronauts include two from NASA and two are from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
- NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission consist a rocket booster that is recycled from a previous spaceflight.
- The Falcon 9 rocket used in the Crew-2 mission was used to launch the Crew-1 into orbit five months ago. This marks the first time a previously flown rocket booster is re-used in a crewed launch.
- The latest mission is the second “operational” space station team that was launched by NASA aboard a Dragon Crew capsule.
- It is also the third crewed flight which is launched into lower Earth orbit under NASA’s fledgling public-private partnership with SpaceX.
What will Crew-2 do at ISS?
- Crew-2 astronauts will join the members of Expedition 65.
- They will stay aboard the ISS for six months and will conduct science experiments in low-Earth orbit.
- Their central focus will be to continue a series of Tissue Chips in Space studies.
- Tissue Chips are small models of human organs that contain multiple cell types that behave similarly to the human body.
- These chips can speed up the process of identifying safe and effective drugs and vaccines.
- Scientists will use these tissue chips in space to study diseases that affect specific human organs.
- The main advantage is that experiments in space takes lesser times in comparison to earth.
What is the Commercial Crew Program?
- The main objective of the program is to make access to space easier in terms of its cost to carry the cargo and crew transportation easier.
- NASA also plans to lower its costs by sharing them with commercial partners by building Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS).
- A space station, also known as an orbital station or an orbital space station, is a spacecraft capable of supporting a human crew in orbit for an extended period of time, and is therefore a type of space habitat.
- It lacks major propulsion or landing systems.
- Stations must have docking ports to allow other spacecraft to dock to transfer crew and supplies.
- As of 2021, one fully operational and permanently inhabited space station is in low Earth orbit: the International Space Station (ISS).
- China, India, Russia, and the U.S., as well as Bigelow Aerospace and Axiom Space, are all planning other stations for the coming decades.
Lunar Space Station
- The Lunar Gateway, or simply Gateway, is a planned small space station in lunar orbit intended to serve as a solar-powered communication hub, science laboratory, short-term habitation module, and holding area for rovers and other robots.
- Gateway development includes four of the International Space Station partner agencies: NASA, ESA, JAXA, and CSA.
- Its construction is planned to take place in the 2020s.