Just two days after launching from California, SpaceX will launch another of its Falcon 9 rockets from Florida this afternoon. The vehicle will carry supplies for the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. This is the 16th Cargo Resupply mission SpaceX has been launching for NASA since 2012. And as usual, SpaceX performs one of its typical missile landings after takeoff and lands on a concrete landing pad near the start of the vehicle.
On SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will be one of the company's Dragon cargo capsules filled with 5,600 pounds of food, water, supplies and experiments for the ISS's six-man crew. For this mission, SpaceX uses a kite that was previously flown during the company's 1
Hundreds of different research experiments and technology demonstrations are conducted at this launch. One of these payloads helps to test processes that are required when future spacecraft are sent to space for refueling satellites. The payload known as Robotic Refueling Mission-3 will test the transfer of super cold propellant gases into orbit. It mimics how a spacecraft can fill the tank of a satellite already in space. Another payload called the GEDI will sit outside the station and beam down lasers to Earth to measure the height of the forests of our planet. The goal is to better understand how deforestation adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and how new, growing trees absorb the gas.
Originally, the launch was scheduled for Tuesday, but the flight had to be postponed due to contaminated cargo. The Boulder University of Colorado sends live mice to the ISS, and the engineers found that some of the animals' feed bars provided by the NASA Ames Research Center had some mold. "We assume the food is suspicious," said Joel Montalbano, deputy ISS Program Manager, during a press conference on Monday. The bars had to be changed before the flight, but it took too long to load the new food, which delayed the start by one day.
SpaceX Falcon 9 is scheduled for release this afternoon at 13:16 ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The company also has an immediate startup window, so the rocket has to take off at exactly this time or start another day. So far, the weather could work together for the mission, as the odds for a 90 percent chance are favorable, says the 45th Space Wing, which monitors takeoffs from the Cape.
After launch, the first stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will return to the Cape and land at one of the company's concrete landing points, Landing Zone 1. As for the kite, he will meet on Saturday morning with the International Space Station. Then astronauts will use the robotic arm of the station to grab the kite and connect it to the ISS. The capsule should remain for about a month before leaving the station and returning to Earth with numerous results.
Both NASA and SpaceX will report the start live. NASA's live stream will start at 12:45 pm ET and the live stream from SpaceX will start about 20 minutes before the start. Then watch the video of your choice to see this launch live.