SpaceX prepares to make supply run to space station for NASA with upgraded Dragon
SpaceX is preparing to launch a Dragon spaceship from Florida this weekend making its last supply run to the International Space Station until next year.
The Falcon 9 rocket will take off on Saturday from the Kennedy Space Centre, if the weather allows. Currently, the weather conditions are looking risky for a rocket booster landing at sea, with primary concerns for liftoff being cloud cover and rain.
This will be SpaceX’s first launch of its new and improved cargo Dragon spacecraft, not to be confused with the Crew Dragon spacecraft that launched two sets of humans to the ISS. The Crew Dragon has now taken seven astronauts to the ISS, who are now awaiting these supplies.
The new cargo ship can carry 50% more supplies and will be packed with more than 6,400 pounds of supplies including equipment, science materials and new experiments destined for the zero-gravity laboratory. It’s the 21st time SpaceX will make a supply run for NASA.
The Falcon 9 booster will land once again at sea on the droneship called Of Course I Still Love You.
The capsule and Falcon 9 were rolled out to launchpad 39A on Wednesday in preparation for launch.
First launch of the upgraded cargo version of Dragon, which can carry 50% more science payloads than the previous version
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 3, 2020
After launch, Dragon will arrive at the ISS Sunday almost 24 hours after it departs Florida’s Space Coast. This will be the first automated docking of the Cargo Dragon. For all previous 20 deliveries by SpaceX, an astronaut would grab the spacecraft with the space station’s robotic Canadarm.
When it happens, NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover will be monitoring the spacecraft’s arrival to the Harmony module. The astronauts have been practicing emergency drills and procedures for the event.
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