SpaceX launches resupply mission to the ISS carrying first batch of new solar arrays (Updated)

by | Jun 4, 2021 | International Space Station, Launches, Satellites, Seradata News, SpaceX

SpaceX successfully launched the Dragon CRS 22 resupply mission to the ISS at 1729 GMT on 3 June from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA. The mission in service to NASA is carrying 3,328 kg of cargo, supplies, and hardware. Of this an important part are the first two IROSA (ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays) – out of six planned – new solar arrays which are intended to enhance the station’s power generating capacity. They are being built by Boeing subsidiary-Spectrolab, and these first two are planned to be installed later this year.

Additionally, two piggy-back CubeSats are also travelling to the station. One satellite is part of the NASA ELaNa 36 mission – initially this mission was expected to consist of 10 CubeSats but was reduced to just one prelaunch for unknown reasons. The surviving ELaNa mission is known as RamSat, a 2U CubeSat built by Oak Ridge Public Schools, Tennessee, to promote a STEM curriculum amongst its students. It will be equipped with a small imaging payload. The second co-payload, SOAR, is from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. This 3U CubeSat was built by GomSpace, Denmark, and is intended to  study aerodynamic interactions in very low Earth Orbit (VLEO).

The Falcon 9 lifts-off carrying the resupply freighter towards LEO. Courtesy of SpaceX via YouTube


In what has become almost a novelty for SpaceX, this mission saw the maiden launch of a new first-stage. The B1067 first-stage successfully landed on the drone barge “Of Course I Still Love You” stationed 303 km downrange in the Atlantic Ocean seven minutes after launch.

The freighter is expected to rendezvous and dock with the Harmony module of the ISS during the morning of 5 June.

Update on 7 June: The Dragon CRS 22 freighter successfully completed its docking with the ISS attaching itself to the “Harmony” module at 0909 GMT on 5 June.

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