With three additional astronauts/cosmonauts just recently joining the International Space Station crew, the space lab needs fresh supplies. Commercial space company SpaceX is preparing to deliver them very shortly.
Image Credit: SpaceX
A brand-new Falcon 9 rocket is standing tall and looking pretty at the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and preparing to launch on Monday. If everything goes according to plan, it should launch at approximately 12:31 P.M. Eastern time.
Worthy of note, this is not a refurbished Falcon 9 rocket, but SpaceX will attempt resorting to refurbished Falcon 9 rockets whenever possible going forward to reduce launch costs and to put its focus on new rocket technologies, like the upcoming Falcon Heavy.
At the top of the Falcon 9 rocket planned for launch on Monday is a Dragon capsule carrying over 6,400 pounds of supplies, such as food, science experiments, a supercomputer, and other necessities.
The supercomputer is of particular interest because it will help advance research by providing the crew with the extra computational power they need for experiments. The ISS-CREAM device is another important part of this delivery, which will be affixed externally to the International Space Station to help monitor cosmic ray sources.
The payload will disconnect from the first stage rocket once it reaches outer space, and will guide itself to the International Space Station autonomously with its own onboard rocket propulsion system for docking.
Once the International Space Station crew grabs all the new supplies from the capsule, they will load it up with spent supplies and science experiments and ship back to Earth to be retrieved.
As for the Falcon 9 first stage, it will return to Earth and attempt an upright landing in Florida; rather than landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, it will land on solid ground.
Weather conditions are reportedly 70% favorable, so there’s a good chance the Falcon 9 will make it to the International Space Station today. If it doesn’t, the rocket launch will be delayed for another week, as Russian cosmonauts have a planned spacewalk on Thursday to complete.
For those interested in watching the launch live, you can do so from SpaceX's live stream below:
Source: The Verge