From drugs to fruit flies: What SpaceX took to the International Space Station

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SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket during the CRS-11 resupply mission on June 3. (SpaceX Photo)

SpaceX impressed the world yet again last week with a flawless ground landing of the Falcon 9 rocket and the fact that it became the first commercial space company to send a vehicle, the Dragon cargo capsule, into orbit twice.
Dragon delivered 6,000 pounds of cargo on its CRS-11 resupply mission to give the astronauts living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) a refresh of supplies in addition to some equipment for scientific research. Here is some of the cargo SpaceX delivered:
A common side effect of spending time in space is an osteoporosis diagnosis — the weakening of the bones. NASA researchers don’t know why, but the phenomenon has been found in both humans and animals in microgravity.
While the astronauts do take measures to prevent bone density loss like exercising for hours a day and taking dietary supplements, there is no known way to get bone density back after it’s gone.
The Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis (Rodent Research-5) investigation builds on previous research — testing a drug that not only prevents bone loss, but rebuilds it, too. Researchers hope the drug could help millions of people on Earth who suffer from osteoporosis.

2. NICER X-ray timing instrument

The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) is expected to be fired up on the ISS June 14 to study the composition of neutron stars.

According to Johnson Space Center in a statement, neutron stars “are the densest objects in the universe, and contain exotic states of matter that are impossible to replicate in any ground lab.” They’re left behind after a star explodes as a supernova. They emit X-rays that NICER can observe and record.
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