SpaceX ‘go’ to launch Dragon cargo ship to space station for NASA tonight. Here’s how to watch it live. (Image Credit: Space.com)
SpaceX is all set to launch its latest cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday (March 14), provided Mother Nature cooperates.
NASA and SpaceX held a launch readiness review (LRR) on Monday (March 13) for the company’s CRS-27 resupply flight, which will send a robotic Dragon capsule to the orbiting lab atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
The LRR revealed no pressing issues, so CRS-27 remains on track to launch Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT on March 15) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“The vehicle is healthy, and all the systems are go for launch,” Sarah Walker, SpaceX’s Dragon mission management director, said during a post-LRR press conference on Monday evening. “The main thing that the teams continue to monitor over the next 24 hours is weather.”
You can watch the launch here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX and NASA. We’ll also carry footage of Dragon’s ISS rendezvous and docking, which is expected to occur early Thursday morning (March 16).
Related: Facts about SpaceX’s Dragon capsule
And don’t worry too much about a weather-related scrub; the weather is looking good as well, having cleared up quite a bit as Monday wore on.
“Models have definitely trended in our favor,” Arlena Moses, the launch weather officer for Cape Canaveral Space Force Station‘s 45th Weather Squadron, said during Monday’s press conference.
“While earlier we were looking at a potential probability of violation around 50%, I can now say that we’re coming down to only 20%,” Moses said. The primary weather concern, she added, is the possibility of mid-level clouds thick enough to carry an electric charge.
As its name indicates, CRS-27 is the 27th operational resupply mission that SpaceX will fly to the International Space Station for NASA. Tuesday’s launch will be the third for this particular Dragon capsule and the seventh for the Falcon 9’s first stage.
Dragon will carry up nearly 6,300 pounds (2,860 kilograms) of cargo on CRS-27, including spacewalk equipment and vehicle hardware, as well as about 60 new scientific experiments, NASA officials said.
Among the scientific gear are the final two experiments for Tissue Chips in Space, a project run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the International Space Station National Laboratory.
“Both studies, Cardinal Heart 2.0 and Engineered Heart Tissues-2, use small devices containing living cells that mimic functions of human tissues and organs to advance the development of treatments for cardiac dysfunction,” NASA officials wrote in an update on March 9 (opens in new tab).
Another scientific payload going up on CRS-27 is the HUNCH Ball Clamp Monopod, which was built by Houston-area high school students. The monopod could make it easier to film in space, agency officials said.
Dragon will also haul up food, including some rare treats for astronauts accustomed to eating preserved foods out of a box or bag.
“The crews requested some fresh fruit and refrigerated cheeses,” Phil Dempsey, NASA’s International Space Station Program transportation integration manager, said during Monday’s press conference. “So on board are apples, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges [and] cherry tomatoes, as well as a few different cheeses.”
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).