KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – SpaceX successfully launched its 27th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station on Tuesday evening from Kennedy Space Center.
The Falcon 9 rocket was able to liftoff at 8:30 p.m. from Launch Complex 39A on Florida’s Space Coast.
SpaceX CRS-27 carried more than 15 ISS National Lab-sponsored payloads, including tissue chip research, advanced materials projects, technology demonstrations, and physical sciences studies, according to the ISS National Laboratory.
One of the uncrewed Dragon spacecraft’s experiments will examine how the heart changes in space as part of the collaboration between the National Center for Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health and International Space Station National Laboratory’s Tissue Chips in Space initiative.
The collaboration includes sending up its final two studies – both being second flights of heart-related investigations that use tissue chips, small devices that mimic functions of human organs.
[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider]
According to a news release, the team will test whether engineered heart muscle tissue grown in microgravity can be used as a model for heart failure to screen potential new drugs.
“Spaceflight causes many significant changes in the human body,” said Liz Warren, associate program scientist at CASIS (Center for the Advancement of Science in Space). “We expect tissue chips in space to behave much like an astronaut’s body, experiencing the same kind of rapid change.”
The team of researchers from Stanford University led by Joseph Wu will pretreat the engineered heart tissues with FDA-approved drugs and send them to the ISS to evaluate whether the therapeutics help reduce the negative effects of microgravity on the tissues.
“We are interested in improving patients’ lives and want to better understand what causes heart diseases and how we can prevent them using either new therapeutics or old therapeutics that are reformulated or repurposed,” said Dilip Thomas, a research instructor at Stanford.
During a news conference on Monday, NASA officials said that 6,300 pounds of supplies would be onboard, including NASA’s HUNCH Ball Clamp Monopod — a student manufactured project that can make filming in space easier — and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Tanpopo-5 investigation, which studies the origin, transportation and survival of life in space and on extraterrestrial planets.
Astronauts on the space station have also requested fresh fruit like apples, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges and cherry tomatoes, alongside a variety of cheeses, all of which will be included in the payload, NASA said.
NASA added that there was a 10% chance of weather violation at launch time — down from its original 50% chance.
“There is a small possibility that some of these clouds may pose what we would call a thick cloud layer concern,” 45th Weather Squadron Launch Weather Officer Arlena Moses said. “Or midlevel clouds that are thick enough that they still could carry some electric charge.”
Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily: