US space agency NASA has said that the SpaceX is all set to launch its Dragon spacecraft for the 11th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft is scheduled to be launched on June 1 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, which will be launched atop the Falcon 9 rocket, will carry and deliver crew supplies, equipment and scientific research to astronauts who live aboard the ISS.
Investigations that study neutron stars, osteoporosis, solar panels and tools for Earth-observation will be delivered to the ISS astronauts through the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.
"In addition to studying the matter within the neutron stars, the payload also includes a technology demonstration called the Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT), which will help researchers to develop a pulsar-based, space navigation system," NASA said.
When massive stars explode as supernovas, they leave behind glowing cinders that are known as Neutron stars. Such stars contain exotic states of matter that are impossible to replicate in any ground lab.
Because of the unique way they emit light, these stars are called ‘pulsars’. The light sweeps pas us when the star spins, and this phenomenon appears as if the star is pulsing.
The physics of these stars is studied by the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explored (NICER) payload, affixed to the exterior of the space station. This provides new insight into their nature and behaviour.
X-ray radiation is emitted by the Neutron stars, which enables NICER technology to observe and record information about its structure, dynamics and energetics. The new solar panels called Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) which are lighter and stores more compactly for launch than the rigid solar panels currently in use will also be sent to ISS.
ROSA has solar cells on a flexible blanket and a framework that rolls out like a tape measure.