Commercial Resupply Mission 10 (CRS-10)
The Commercial Resupply Mission (CRS-10) was SpaceX’s tenth contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) to deliver about 5,500 lbs of science and research, supplies for the crew and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew.
About 10 minutes after the launch, Dragon will reach its preliminary orbit. It then deploys its solar arrays and begins a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station. After two days the Dragon capsule will reach the International Space Station, where Expedition 50 crew members Pesquet and Kimbrough will have to use the station’s 57.7 foot robotic arm to capture the Dragon as it arrives to the Earth facing port on the Harmony module where it will be berthed.
During the next four weeks, the crew will unload the spacecraft and reload it will cargo to return to Earth. About five and a half hours after it departs the station, the Dragon will splash down into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.
Dragon will carry hardware and supplies to support dozens of the approximately 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 50 and 51. One of the experiments the dragon capsule is carrying to the ISS is the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III, which will provide continuity for key climate observations and data records.
Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III is part of one of NASA’s longest running Earth-observing programs, providing continuous, long term data to help scientists to better understand and to care for the Earth’s atmosphere. SAGE was first operated in 1979 following the Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (SAM), on the Apollo-Soyuz mission. SAGE III will measure stratospheric ozone, aerosols and other trace gases by locking onto the sun or the moon and scanning a thin profile of the atmosphere. In addition to measuring the atmosphere, this investigation will also measure temperatures in the stratosphere and mesosphere, as well as profiles of trace gases. Understanding these measurements will allow neations and international leaders to make informed policy decisions regarding the protection and preservation of Earth’s atmosphere.
Another piece of hardware the Dragon capsule will carry is the Lightning Imaging Sensor (STP-H5 LIS). The lightning imaging sensor is an external payload that will measure the amount, rate and energy of lightning as it strikes around the world. Lightning flashes on Earth about 45 times per second, according to space-borne lightning detection instruments. This investigation continues those observations using a similar sensor aboard the station. Data transmitted from the device will improve our understanding of lightning and provide valuable insight into weather prediction, climate change, atmospheric chemistry and physics, and air-and spacecraft safety.