The next cargo resupply service mission to the International Space Station by SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft is targeted for launch at 1:43 p.m. PDT Friday, April 8.

The Dragon capsule will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying science research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the Expedition 47 and 48 crews.

NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley will send five biology experiments to the International Space Station on the Dragon capsule.

Ames will host a free local event on its campus at Moffett Field, California, for registered members of the media and public.

Biology experiment information and resources:

Rodent Research-3:

The spaceflight environment is known to cause muscle loss (atrophy), similar to disuse and muscle wasting diseases on Earth. The Rodent Research-3 microgravity study will evaluate a countermeasure against muscle atrophy. Results of the Rodent Research-3 investigation are expected to increase our understanding of diseases, disorders and injuries affecting millions of people globally and to aid in the development of new therapeutics and strategies to treat such conditions.

The Rodent Research-3 investigation is sponsored by the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. For this investigation, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space formed a commercial partnership with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. Ames developed the Rodent Research hardware system and is responsible for Rodent Research-3 mission integration and operations on the space station. BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, Boulder, is the science integrator for Rodent Research-3.



The Micro-10 investigation studies how the stress of microgravity triggers changes in growth, gene expression, physical responses, and metabolism of a fungus called Aspergillus nidulans (A. nidulans), an important biomedical research species. Results provide new data on how spaceflight affects fungi, including whether the fungi can be induced to make new molecular compounds that could be used for development of new drugs. The experiment is managed and supported by Ames, and the principal investigator is Cheryl Nickerson of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. 



Micro-9 examines how spaceflight and microgravity affect the mechanisms of cell biology. The study will use multiple genetic strains of the yeast model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae (sack-ah-row-my-sees sara-vis-ee-ee) to enhance our understanding of how life responds to physical phenomena and physical forces. The study investigates specific mechanisms of yeast cell signaling and response to microgravity. This experiment is managed and supported by Ames and the principal investigator is Timothy G. Hammond, Institute for Medical Research, Inc., Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina. 


Microbial Tracking 1C:

Formerly known as Microbial Observatory-1, this experiment is a three-part investigation that seeks to characterize airborne and surface-associated populations of microorganisms aboard the International Space Station and will be conducted over three different SpaceX commercial cargo resupply missions, spanning months. Observations from the Microbial Tracking-1 study will provide NASA with information to estimate crew health and spacecraft performance risks stemming from microbial growth onboard a crewed space vehicle. Ames is the payload developer and implementer for the Microbial Tracking-1, and Ames also manages the Microbial Tracking-1 investigation. Kasthuri Venkateswaran of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena is the principal investigator for the investigation.



This is the first flight for WetLab-2, a new system for conducting quantitative, real-time gene expression analysis aboard the International Space Station. Gene expression analysis measures the activity of genes—functional units of genetic information. Station crew can use the WetLab-2 system to rapidly and safely prepare biological specimens for gene expression analysis, to conduct that analysis and to return data to investigators on Earth within hours. WetLab-2 is being developed at Ames under the leadership of the Ames International Space Station Utilization Office, benefiting from the expertise within the Space Biosciences Division and the Engineering Directorate. Julie Schonfeld, NASA’s Ames Engineering Directorate, is the project manager for the investigation.


Social media:

Twitter: @NASAAmes, @Space_Station, @ISS_Research, @SpaceX

Facebook: NASA Ames Research Center

Hashtag: #Dragon


Related links:

NASA’s Ames Research Center

Ames media resources


Media contact:

Darryl E. Waller, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, 650-604-4789