Onboard SpaceX’s 28th Commercial resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) are the next pair of Redwire’s ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs) and materials for both a Redwire-managed experiment, Plant Habitat 03(B), and an alloy-focused ESA experiment. Liftoff is targeted for 12:35 p.m. EST on Saturday, June 3 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Powering the ISS
Over the last two years, Redwire has developed and delivered six iROSA wings to Boeing, NASA’s prime contractor for space station operations, with four iROSAs already installed and augmenting power on the ISS. In April, Redwire successfully delivered wings five and six to Boeing for spacecraft integration and spacewalks were performed to prepare for their installation on the ISS. With wings five and six installed, all six iROSA wings will substantially improve the overall power-generating capability of the ISS by 20-30 percent. The next two wings will be installed by spacewalks happening on June 9 and June 15.
ROSA is a flexible solar array with composite booms that are rolled up. When installed, each ROSA unit unrolls using the inherent stored strain energy in the booms, giving ROSA an advantage over other traditional technologies. In September, ROSA powered NASA’s DART spacecraft to impact asteroid Dimorphos, successfully altering the asteroid’s orbit. Redwire is also producing various versions of ROSA for other government and commercial spaceflight applications including the Power and Propulsion Element for NASA’s Gateway program, a part of the Artemis program, and Astrobotic’s Lunar Vertical Solar Array program, which aims to provide sustainable power on the lunar surface.
Plant Biology + Materials Science Research
Also launching on SpX-28 are materials for a Redwire-managed plant science investigation, the Epigenetic Adaptation to the Spaceflight Environment – Accumulated Genomic Change Induced by Generations in Space (Plant Habitat-03(B)) investigation, which could help develop strategies for adapting crops and other economically important plants for growth in marginal and reclaimed habitats on Earth. The investigation, which is the second part of the initial investigation that launched in November 2022, will be conducted using NASA’s Advanced Plant Habitat (APH)—an automated plant growth facility in which science operations are managed by Redwire. Redwire has successfully completed three APH investigations which grew radishes, chili peppers, and cotton tissue culture in space. Learn more about the Plant Habitat-03 investigation here.
From Redwire’s Belgium-based team, the Transparent Alloys Cartridges for the Transparent Alloys Instrument operating onboard the ISS are also launching on SpX-28. The instrument, developed by Redwire through a contract under a program of and funded by the European Space Agency, launched to the ISS in December 2017 and will now host its fifth material science experiment focused on alloys. The two cartridges contain mixtures that will be used to conduct the Solidification along a Eutectic Path in Binary Alloys (SEBA) and Metastable Solidification of Composites: Novel Peritectic Structures and In-Situ Composites (METCOMP) experiments using the Transparent Alloys Instrument. The SEBA experiment will study the dynamics of eutectic structures and the METCOMP experiment will study layered structures in peritectic systems.
By studying transparent models, these experiments increase our understanding of metal solidification and enable scientists to optimize the models for casting processes of metal alloys. These experiments open up the door to the development of new materials to benefit various industries on Earth.
Redwire’s SpX-28 Launch Experience
On Friday, June 2, ahead of the SpX-28 launch, Redwire is gathering a panel of experts, enthusiasts, and leaders from both the space industry and the world of science fiction to discuss how science fiction has impacted space exploration and policy. Moderated by Redwire’s Chief Growth Officer Mike Gold, the Panel includes participants Jess Bush, actor on Strange New Worlds, A.C. Charania, NASA Chief Technologist, and Morgan Gendel, Aerospace Entrepreneur and Screenwriter for Star Trek: The Next Generation & Deep Space 9. Learn more about the panel and watch the livestream here starting at 11 a.m. EDT.