SpaceX CRS-23

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SpaceX CRS-23
On Approach to the Space Station.jpg
On 30 August 2021, CRS-23 approaches the ISS for an autonomous docking to the Harmony module's forward international docking adapter.
Mission typeISS resupply
COSPAR ID2021-078A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.49117
Mission duration32 days, 19 hours, 42 minutes
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftCargo Dragon C208
Launch mass6,000 kg (13,000 lb)
Payload mass2,207 kg (4,866 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date29 August 2021, 07:14:49 UTC[1]
RocketFalcon 9 Block 5 (B1061.4)
Launch siteKennedy Space Center, LC-39A
End of mission
Recovered byGO Searcher (Megan)
Landing date1 October 2021, 02:57 UTC [2]
Landing siteAtlantic Ocean
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Docking with International Space Station
Docking portHarmony forward
Docking date30 August 2021, 14:30 UTC
Undocking date30 September 2021, 13:12 UTC
Time docked30 days, 22 hours, 42 minutes
SpaceX CRS-23 Patch.png
SpaceX CRS-23 mission patch  

SpaceX CRS-23, also known as SpX-23, was a Commercial Resupply Service mission to the International Space Station, successfully launched on 29 August 2021 and docking the following day.[1] The mission was contracted by NASA and was flown by SpaceX using the Cargo Dragon C208. This was the third flight for SpaceX under NASA's CRS Phase 2 contract awarded in January 2016. It was the second mission for this reusable capsule.

Along with SpaceX Crew-2 (Endeavour) and Inspiration4 (Resilience), C208 was one of three SpaceX Dragon 2 spacecraft in space simultaneously from 15 to 18 September 2021.

Cargo Dragon[edit]

Multiple views of CRS-23 mission Falcon 9 from liftoff to first-stage landing.

SpaceX plans to reuse the Cargo Dragons up to five times. Since it does not support a crew, the Cargo Dragon launches without SuperDraco abort engines, seats, cockpit controls or the life support system required to sustain astronauts in space.[3][4] Dragon 2 improves on Dragon 1 in several ways, including lessened refurbishment time, leading to shorter periods between flights.[5]

Cargo Dragon capsules under the NASA CRS Phase 2 contract splash down near Florida under parachutes in the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean.


Liftoff of the Falcon 9 carrying Cargo Dragon for the CRS-23 mission.

NASA contracted for the CRS-23 mission from SpaceX and therefore determines the primary payload, date of launch, and orbital parameters for the Cargo Dragon.[6]

  • Science investigations: 1,046 kg (2,306 lb)
  • Vehicle hardware: 338 kg (745 lb)
  • Crew supplies: 480 kg (1,060 lb)
  • Spacewalk equipment: 69 kg (152 lb)
  • Russian hardware: 24 kg (53 lb)

GITAI S1 Robotic Arm Tech Demo[edit]

The GITAI S1 Robotic Arm Tech Demo will test GITAI Japan Inc.'s microgravity robot by placing the arm inside the newly added Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, which was carried to the station by Dragon C208 during the SpaceX CRS-21 mission last year. Once inside the airlock, the arm will perform numerous tests to demonstrate its versatility and dexterity.[7]

Designed by GITAI Japan Inc., the robot will work as a general-purpose helper under the pressurized environment inside the Bishop Airlock. It will operate tools and switches and run scientific experiments. The next step will be to test it outside the ISS in the harsh space environment. The robot will be able to perform tasks both autonomously and via teleoperations. Its arm has eight degrees of freedom and a 1-meter reach. GITAI S1 is a semi-autonomous/semi-teleoperated robotic arm designed to conduct specified tasks internally and externally on space stations, on-orbit servicing, and lunar base development. By combining autonomous control via AI and teleoperations via the specially designed GITAI manipulation system H1, GITAI S1 on its own, possesses the capability to conduct generous-purpose tasks (manipulation of switches, tools, soft objects; conducting science experiments and assembly; high-load operations; etc.) that were extremely difficult for industrial robots such as task specific robotic arms to do.


Photograph of a biologist holding a measurement equipment to a glass container
A biologist preparing Reducing Arthritis Dependent Inflammation - First Phase experiment for the CRS-23 mission

The new experiments arriving at the orbiting laboratory will inspire future scientists and explorers, and provide valuable insight for researchers.

NASA Glenn Research Center studies:[8]

  • Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment (FBCE) insert for the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR)[9]
  • Support hardware for Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction (SoFIE) insert for the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR),[10] remaining SoFIE hardware to fly on SpaceX CRS-24.

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) has five experiments manifested:

  • Mission 14C - 2 experiments[11]
  • Mission 15B - 3 experiments[12]

Malta's First In Space

  • Malta sent its very first space bioscience experiment entitled SpaceOMIX as a first mission under the Maleth Program. The first mission will be investigating the skin microbiome of diabetic foot ulcers resistant to conventional treatment. Experiments will include a full multi-omic analysis before and after spaceflight takes place. The experiment is also taking a large number of STEM-based science messages from people including school children of all ages to be part of this historic first mission to the International Space Station. The specially designed biocube based on the ICECubes platform is done in collaboration with Space Applications Services based in Belgium.[13]

Orbit Your Thesis!: OSCAR-QUBE

  • Designed, built and tested in a period of 14 months by a team of university students from Hasselt University in Belgium, OSCAR-QUBE will be installed in the Columbus Laboratory's ICECubes facility owned and operated by Space Applications Services. The team took part in ESA's Education programme called Orbit Your Thesis! (OYT) and proposed the experiment which is a diamond quantum-based magnetometer with femto Tesla precision. The team are the first to launch their experiment as part of the OYT programme and are the first students from their university to launch an experiment to the ISS.[14]


CubeSats included in this mission (ELaNa 37):

  • PR-CuNaR2 - CubeSat NanoRocks2, Inter American University of Puerto Rico[15]
  • Amber IOD-3 – Horizon Space Technologies, UK[16]
  • Binar-1 – Space Science and Technology Centre, Curtin University, Australia[17][18]
  • CUAVA-1 – ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs and Their Applications, HQ at The University of Sydney, Australia[19][20]
  • CAPSat - Cool Annealing Payload Satellite, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US[21]
  • Maya-3 and Maya-4 – University of the Philippines-Diliman and Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan[22]
  • SPACE HAUC – Science Program Around Communications Engineering with High Achieving Undergraduate Cadres, University of Massachusetts Lowell, US[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (29 August 2021). "SpaceX launches resupply mission to International Space Station". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  2. ^ Clark, Stephen (1 October 2021). "SpaceX cargo ship streaks across Florida on the way to splashdown". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  3. ^ Audit of Commercial Resupply Services to the International Space Center (PDF). NASA Office of Inspector General (Report). Vol. IG-18-016. NASA. 26 April 2018. p. 24. Retrieved 29 September 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ "Dragon 2 modifications to Carry Cargo for CRS-2 missions". Teslarati. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  5. ^ Clark, Stephen (2 August 2019). "SpaceX to begin flights under new cargo resupply contract next year". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  6. ^ "SpaceX Commercial Resupply". NASA. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ "SpaceX, NASA to launch CRS-23 mission to ISS early Saturday morning". 27 August 2021. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  8. ^ "ISS Research Program". Glenn Research Center. NASA. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 27 September 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. ^ FCBE Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ SoFIE Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  11. ^ "SSEP Mission 14 to the International Space Station (ISS)". Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  12. ^ "SSEP Mission 15 to the International Space Station (ISS)". Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  13. ^ "UM-led project being sent to International Space Station". University of Malta.
  14. ^ "Orbit Your Thesis! hardware OSCAR QUBE ready to fly to ISS".
  15. ^ "PR-CUNAR 2".
  16. ^ Rainbow, Jason (19 May 2021). "Horizon Technologies gets funding for maritime surveillance satellites". SpaceNews. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  17. ^ "Binar Space Program". BinarSpace. 30 June 2021. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Countdown begins until WA's first satellite blasts into space". Government of Western Australia. 23 August 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  19. ^ Harrison, Ruth (3 June 2021). "AUSTRALIAN BUILT CUBESAT CUAVA-1 STARTS ITS JOURNEY TO SPACE". Space Australia. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  20. ^ "CUAVA-1 Space Launch Celebration". ARC Training Centre CUAVA. 23 August 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  21. ^ Larson, Debra Levey (14 July 2021). "Special delivery brings CubeSat satellite one step closer to space". Grainger College of Engineering. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  22. ^ Luci-Atienza, Charissa (27 August 2021). "Maya-3, Maya-4, PH's first university-built cube satellites, to be launched to ISS August 28". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  23. ^ Aguirre, Edwin L. (22 July 2021). "UML Satellite a Step Closer to Launch". University Massachusetts Lowell. Retrieved 23 August 2021.

External links[edit]