Another launch is upon us! On the backdrop of the Artemis 1 launch, we are sending several customer payloads aboard SpaceX’s upcoming 26th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Launching from Kennedy Space Center, a Falcon 9 rocket will be delivering this new batch of payloads with experiments and technology aimed at advancing the future of space and humanity.
We’ve included a full rundown of the payloads included in this mission below with a description of their contributions to the growing space ecosystem. Congrats to all of our customers for reaching this exciting milestone!
- SpaceChain and Velas Blockchain: These organizations will be running a technology demonstration mission inside a Nanoracks Nanolab, where they will test establishing receipts, authorizations, and retransmissions of a blockchain transaction, commonly known as “multisig transactions”. The end goal is to combine space and blockchain technologies to build the world’s first open-source blockchain-based satellite network, allowing users to develop and run decentralized applications in space.
- Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD #24): We are launching our 24th satellite mission for our commercial developed cubesat deployer on the ISS. The following satellites are on this mission:
- SPORT – 6U Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), the Technical Aeronautics Institute in Brazil (ITA), the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil (INPE), NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center, with Participation from Utah State University, The Aerospace Corporation, NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center, and University of Texas at Dallas (NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative)
- LORIS – 2U Dalhousie University- Canadian CubeSat Project (Canadian Space Agency)
- ORCASat – 2U University of Victoria – Canadian CubeSat Project (Canadian Space Agency)
- DanteSat –3U NPC SpaceMind (Italy)
- NUTSat – 2U Gran Systems (Taiwan)
- petitSat – 6U NASA Goddard (NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative)
- MARIO – 3U University of Michigan (NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative)
- TJREVERB – 2U Thomas Jefferson High School, Virginia (NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative)
- NOMADS: In collaboration with the Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science (SPOCS), DreamUp, NASA, and the University of New Hampshire, this experiment was developed to investigate bacterial mutation, diversity, and antibiotic production, as affected by microgravity and the electromagnetic radiation present on the International Space Station by using a novel device, iChip (isolation chip), to culture bacteria in an in situ environment.
- ISSET-Nanoracks-UWS-2: In collaboration with international partners, including King’s College London (UK), the University of the West of Scotland (UK), The International Space School Educational Trust, and DreamUp, this study includes two experiments housed in Nanoracks modules. One examines formation of silver nanoparticles in microgravity and whether microgravity enhances their function as a potential antimicrobial tool. The other studies how microgravity affects earthworms’ genetic response to mechanical stimuli.
- FOP 2.0 Additional Spools and Preforms: A follow up to the Fiber Optic Production (FOP) 2.0 launch on the SpX-25 mission this past summer and the recent NG-18 launch, this launch on SpX-26 is for Mercury Systems to send up even more preforms and spools in order to do more sample runs while their hardware is still on the ISS. The hardware manufactures fiber optic cables on the ISS and operates within the Microgravity Science Glovebox.
- MIT BlackBox 2: Blackbox is a remotely commanded commercial Space Station platform that Nanoracks developed to allow for multiple experiments to occur simultaneously to support the future of human spaceflight. This is the second Blackbox research mission supported by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab (first one was part of SpX CRS-20) and will include the following payloads:
- BioX2 – tests a simplified version of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG) instrument from MIT. The instrument exposes microbes to ultraviolet radiation to induce DNA changes, then analyzes these changes using DNA extraction and sequencing equipment. Results could demonstrate that Darwinian evolution, a characteristic that defines life, can be measured in space. Researchers are based out of Georgia Tech.
- Extrusion – the goal of this investigation is to demonstrate the extrusion of liquid resin into custom forms in the microgravity environment to create geometries that are not possible in the presence of gravity. This investigation helps to lay the groundwork for the additive manufacturing of more complex structures with specifically tailored properties.
- MicroPET – studies the growth, behavior, and survival of bacteria and enzymes that degrade plastics. Using microbes to break down plastic could enable re-use of its components for applications on Earth and in space. This capability would save launch costs and reduce the amount of waste that must be dealt with on longer missions.
- Mixstix: Nanoracks’ Mixstix are mixture enclosure tubes for fluids, materials, chemicals and biological substances – and we are sending nearly 40 total tubes. 26 of the tubes from the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP). Nanoracks is also sending 4 educational Mixstix experiments on behalf of DreamUp:
- RTI and DreamUp are also supporting STARward STEM, a DoD-funded program in which students from Cumberland County Schools are launching experiments to the ISS. SpaceX-26 will carry the first three of these experiments which include turmeric and sage growth in space and materials research on T-73 metal. The mission of this program is to engage underrepresented students in STEM using space by giving them “STAR” moments. This mission includes the first-ever experiment sent to the ISS by a fully deaf and hearing impaired student research team.
- DreamUp is also supporting experiments with iLEAD and Maker Learning Network that focus on the effects of microgravity on Zostera marina (Seagrass), Yucca glauca (Soapweed Yucca), sugar cane seed germination and if activated charcoal can absorb bacteria in microgravity. All of the experiments are student-led with students ranging from 4th grade to 10th grade.
- The last payload on board is from Airvantis, a group in Brazil. The startup previously made history transporting the first four Covid-19 protein molecules into space on a SpaceX rocket earlier this year. This mission is studying vitamins.
We can’t wait to see the impact these impressive payloads will have on the future of space exploration and bettering the future of humanity for us all. We wish all of our customers great success with this mission and we look forward to the launch!