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How to watch SpaceX launch squid, tardigrades to ISS for NASA today



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Baby squid doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo is going to the ISS.

Jamie S. Foster, University of Florida

SpaceX has scheduled a special delivery for the International Space Station today. The Falcon 9 rocket and Cargo Dragon spacecraft are vertically on the launch pad, ready for the company’s 22nd commercial resupply mission for NASA.

There will be no people on board the capsule. But there will be glow-in-the-dark baby squids and little tardigrades, what can survive under extreme conditions. Scientists will study the tardigrades, also known as water bears, to see how they survive and reproduce on the ISS.

The young bobtail squid is part of an investigation into symbiotic relationships between the animals and microbes. Scientists are curious how space travel will affect the relationship.

The critters are just a small part of the 7,300 pounds (3,300 kilograms) of supplies, research equipment and hardware headed to the ISS. Another standout item on board is the ISS Roll-out Solar Array (aka iROSA), innovative solar panels designed by Redwire that roll out like a red carpet. NASA tested the idea earlier in 2017 and it is now ready to be part of the ISS power system. SpaceX will provide the first pair of arrays, with more to follow.

NASA TV will be broadcasting live coverage of the launch Thursday at 10 a.m. PT. The launch is scheduled for 10:29 a.m. PT.

SpaceX tweeted photos of Dragon and its Falcon 9 rocket escort rolling toward the launch pad on Tuesday.

SpaceX is in the process of transferring both cargo and people to the ISS as a commercial partner of NASA. There is a lot of new SpaceX equipment on the CRS-22 flight, including a new Falcon 9 rocket booster and a new cargo spacecraft.

The Cargo Dragon will remain in the ISS for about a month before returning to Earth with a load of science experiments and hardware.

To follow CNET’s Space Calendar for 2021 to keep up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.




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