You can watch SpaceX launch supplies from NASA to the space station early Tuesday.
CAP CANAVERAL, Florida – EspaceX will launch a Dragon spacecraft filled with NASA cargo to the International Space Station early Tuesday (December 21) as part of its final resupply mission for the US Space Agency and you will be able to watch it live.
A shiny new SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will fly here from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 5:06 am EST (1006 GMT). The two-stage launcher will take off from Pad 39 by lifting a robot Dragon cargo capsule carrying more than 6,500 pounds (2,948 kilograms) of fresh supplies, experimental materials and other equipment for the astronauts aboard the orbiting laboratory.
Tuesday’s launch attempt will be SpaceX’s third launch in 72 hours after two takeoffs on Saturday for Turkey’s Turksat 5B satellite and the company’s own Starlink internet satellites. But it’s only if the Dragon can take off.
The weather forecast is uncertain ahead of Tuesday’s attempt, with forecasters from 45 Weather Squadron predicting a 30% chance of Favorable conditions for take off. The main concerns are cumulus clouds, thick clouds and the rule of surface electricity.
There is another opportunity on Wednesday if the rocket cannot take off; with, the weather improves appreciably to 70% favorable. As the launch time improves, the booster cooldown deteriorates slightly as higher seas are expected on Wednesday.
If Dragon can take off as planned, the spacecraft will dock in space on Wednesday morning (December 22).
“We are keeping our fingers crossed so the launch can take off on Tuesday,” said Arlena Moses, launch weather manager at 45th Space Delta at the Cape Canaveral space station during a pre-launch press briefing on Monday, December 20. . ). “If we can’t, the weather will improve on Wednesday.”
Fresh supplies for the space station
Tuesday’s cargo launch, dubbed the CRS-24 mission, is SpaceX’s fourth refueling flight under the company’s leadership. second commercial replenishment services contract with NASA. It is also the eighth freighter to fly this year. SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft is almost identical to its astronaut counterpart, called Crew Dragon, and allows SpaceX and NASA to send more cargo to the station than before due to upgrades from the predecessor. by Cargo Dragon.
Inside this particular freighter are research experiments and crew supplies that will support a plethora of scientific investigations focused on life sciences, medicine, and more.
Bob Dempsey, NASA’s acting deputy chief scientist for the space station program, told Space.com that the Cargo Dragon spacecraft is an integral part of the agency’s commercial resupply program. Not only does it give NASA the ability to launch more cargo, but it also has a unique ability that no other cargo-carrying craft currently has: the ability to bring cargo home.
Freight return is crucial for many different disciplines on the station, especially biomedical research, such as the CASIS PCG20 survey which is a protein crystallization experiment from Merck flying on CRS-24. As part of this investigation, the team will study how protein crystals grow in space to improve cancer treatments here on Earth.
Paul Reichert, principal investigator at Merck, said the ability to receive the experiment within hours (compared to the days of Merck’s first experiment, which flew on CRS-10 in 2017, will make a big difference in the data .
This is because once the protein crystals return to Earth, they are affected by gravity. Thus, recovering them quickly will preserve the collected data.
Also on board are experiments from two different universities, each examining bacteria in space. The first, from the University of Idaho, will study how bacteria thrive on different types of surfaces in order to develop polymers that could help reduce the spread of bacteria on future missions.
“When astronauts touch surfaces in space, like on Earth, they can spread bacteria,” Dempsey said. “So this will look at the bacteria resistant materials. “
Another study from Columbia University in New York will examine the interactions between two different types of bacteria. Previous studies on Earth have shown that these two specific types of bacteria can improve the properties of each other, making them more dangerous. The data collected will be published online for anyone to view and could lead to better antibiotic treatments for future astronauts.
Proctor and Gamble will send Tide detergent into space to determine how well it withstands the rigors of the microgravity environment. Researchers hope this will give future astronauts the chance to do laundry as they venture further into space.
“We will also have food and gifts for the crew,” said Joel Montalbano, NASA’s space station program manager, during a pre-launch press briefing on December 20.
While Montalbano didn’t say what “Santa Claus” was bringing to the station crew for Christmas, he did say there would be holiday treats like turkey and a host of other fresh foods.
A rare new Falcon 9
Tuesday’s launch marks the 31st flight of the year for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 double-decker rocket. The liftoff is expected to feature a new Falcon 9 first stage, designated B1069, marking only SpaceX’s second launch so far this year to take off on a new rocket.
This will be the company’s sixth Dragon launch of the year, which includes two crew missions as well as three previous cargo flights. The Dragon used in Tuesday’s flight will be a previously used freighter, having flown during the CRS-22 mission in June. The mission will also continue SpaceX’s presence in space, as the company has stationed two Dragon freighters in the space station for most of the year.
After taking off on time, the Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth and land on the deck of the “Just Read the Instructions” drone approximately nine minutes later. The massive ship is one of three floating platforms SpaceX now has to catch its rockets.
To date, SpaceX has managed to land its first-stage boosters 99 times. If successful, Saturday’s landing will mark another milestone for the company – its 100th overall recovery.
Dragon will spend just over 24 hours in orbit as it chases the space station. After arriving, the craft will dock at the orbital outpost on Wednesday morning (December 22) at 4:30 a.m. EST (9:30 a.m. GMT).