Space X has been working for a while now on developing sustainable space shuttles. This means that parts of the space shuttle can be reused for future space missions. Not only does this reduce costs, but it is a way of increasing sustainability within aerospace.
Space X’s most recent launch reused parts of the earlier Dragon shuttle. The Cargo space shuttle sent 6,400 pounds of Cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), which mostly consisted of experimental equipment. Extra space in the freezer, however, was used to accommodate extra ice cream for the astronauts. Cups of Vanilla, chocolate, and ice cream bars were blasted into space. Randoph Bresnik, an astronaut at the ISS is soon to turn 50, and a special Ice cream cake has also been sent to his delight.
NASA pays private companies such as SpaceX to get Cargo delivered, and SpaceX saves on costs, by reusing existing parts of their rockets. The Dragon launch represents a huge stride in space exploration. As commercial private companies have stepped onto the forum, humanity’s quest to space exploration has just received a boost.
The Dragon was scheduled for taking off on the 10th of August, Thursday. However due to unfavourable weather conditions, had to be caused this to be rescheduled. A second attempt was made on Saturday, but the rocket did not launch again. Finally, on Monday, the SpaceX rocket was successfully launched to the delight of the astronauts licking their lips in wait for the ice-cream.
Mice and fruit flies were also loaded with the cargo going to space. Twenty Fruit-flies have been sent along with 2,000 of their eggs for experimental basis, many of which are expected to hatch on their way to the space station.
The flies were chosen because of the similarity of their heart beat rate to that of our own. Experiments will be conducted to understand human cardiovascular behaviour in outer space. Although heart structure between ourselves and the flies is very different, the cardiovascular studies will help understand the effects that space has on the heart.
Mice and rats, on the other hand, have a heart that beats around 10 times faster than humans. However, it is not their hearts which researchers are interested about, but an entirely different reason. When in space, it is common for many male astronauts to have a weakened eye-sight. Female astronauts, on the other hand, have never had a recorded issue with this affectation, puzzling scientists and researchers alike. Scientists plan on studying the pressure on the eyes and movement of brain fluids to get a deeper understanding of the problem at hand.
Another important function of the mice is for scientists to understand bone strength. Human bone strength is known to weaken when spending long durations in space. This is believed to happen because of a lack of gravitational pull. A drug used on the mice will help stimulate bone growth, helping scientists find a solution for future astronauts.
Apart from the above, the Cargo Shuttle also consisted of an HP super-computer, cosmic ray, a prototype of a micro-satellite, and a protein Crystal sponsored by the Michael J Fox foundation, that will help better understand the solutions to Parkinson’s disease.
SpaceX is making continuous efforts to make space travel cheaper, quicker and most importantly, sustainable.
Further aerospace companies, such as Boeing, are now looking to increase their investments and focus on space related activity. Many more companies have started the work towards uncovering the secrets of our universe, and the holy-grail of sustainable space travel.
Could this be the beginning of human civilisation on other celestial bodies? Can humans finally become interplanetary species? We’ll just have to ask the mice once they get back!