NASA teleconference to detail SpaceX CRS-18 space studies heading to ISS

ISS delays planned May 1 launch of SpaceX resupply rocket
Image: NASA

NASA is hosting a media teleconference on July 9. The U.S. space agency will reportedly livestream an audiocast of the event via NASA Live at 1 p.m. ET.

During the virtual discussion, scientists and researchers will talk about some of the upcoming scientific studies that SpaceX will deliver to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of its CRS-18 cargo resupply mission.

Mission Details

SpaceX’s upcoming ISS journey marks the firm’s 18th flight to the orbiting laboratory under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. The private aerospace company will launch the payloads via a Dragon cargo spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket. The spaceship is scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 21.

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Along with supplies and hardware for the resident Expedition 60 crew members, the rocket will deliver a new batch of scientific experiments to the ISS. Moreover, each of the studies will explore how the effects of the microgravity environment might impact life on Earth.

Featured Speakers and Experiments

Distinguished speakers at NASA’s upcoming media telecon will share details about the space investigations that are arriving at the ISS via the SpaceX CRS-18 mission.

Chief among them is Bryan Dansberry, assistant program scientist for NASA’s International Space Station Program Science Office. Dansberry will discuss current ISS research and explain how space studies benefit “exploration and humanity.”

Moreover, Chief Operating Officer for the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, Ken Shields, will talk about how ISS research advances science in space. He’ll also discuss how work at the floating lab fosters partnerships “that drive industrialization through microgravity research.”

Professor of Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh, Charles Cockell, will also discuss Biorock, a study that examines how liquid, rocks, and microorganisms physically interact in the microgravity environment for “potentially mining materials in space.” The results of the investigation could prove beneficial in long-term spaceflights, such as to Mars.

Furthermore, researchers from the New York Stem Foundation Research Institute, Valentina Fossati and Andres Bratt-Leal, will discuss Space Tango’s Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) investigation.

In the long-term experiment, ISS crew members will culture cells from people living with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Ultimately, the study will examine cell to cell interactions in microgravity. The research results could provide information about disease progression, as well as help produce options for enhanced treatment and prevention.

Other studies include one which explores how microgravity affects the “growth, development, gene expression, photosynthetic activity, and other features” of Space Moss growing at ISS.

Another investigation, MVP Cell-02, aims to discover how the space environment affects microbial evolution. Outcomes of both experiments have implications for future long-term space travel.

Important Work Ahead

Since the first international crew arrived in 2000, over 236 people from 18 different countries have visited the ISS. Some space station occupants have even traveled to the facility multiple times. To date, researchers have performed thousands of experiments aboard the interstellar lab.

Like their predecessors, American astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague are currently performing multiple experiments at ISS, along with Expedition 60 Commander and Roscosmos member Alexey Ovchinin. The incoming studies will head to ISS one day after the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Amidst celebrations, NASA officials, team members, and partners will be hard at work to help the U.S. space agency further its objective to land humans on the Moon by 2024. As such, ongoing and future ISS studies will undoubtedly become even more critical.

For example, NASA recently selected 12 science and technology payloads that focus on studying the Moon and exploring more of its surface. According to a NASA statement, “The selected investigations will go to the Moon on future flights through NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project.”

Launch dates for the lunar-focused studies are still TBD.