SpaceX is scheduled to launch its final cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, March 14, on the condition of Mother Nature’s cooperation.
NASA and SpaceX conducted a launch readiness review (LRR) on Monday (March 13) for the company’s CRS-27 resupply flight, which will send its robotic Dragon capsule to the lab in orbit around the Falcon 9 rocket.
LRR hasn’t detected any urgent issues, so CRS-27 is still on course for its launch Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. EST (0030 GMT on March 15) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“Vehicle is in good shape, all systems are ready for launch,” Sarah Walker, SpaceX’s Dragon mission manager, said at a press conference after the LRR Monday night. “The main thing that teams will continue to monitor over the next 24 hours is the weather.”
You can watch the launch here on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX and NASA. We will also transmit footage of the Dragon’s ISS rendezvous and docking, which is expected to take place early Thursday morning (March 16).
on: SpaceX Dragon capsule facts
And don’t worry so much about weather-related peeling; The weather looks good too, having smoothed out a bit as it was Monday.
“The models are definitely tilted in our favor,” said Arlena Moses, a meteorologist with the 45th Weather Squadron at Space Force Station Cape Canaveral, during Monday’s news conference.
“Where previously we were looking at a probability of a potential breach at around 50%, now I can say we are at only 20%,” Musa said. She added that the main concern with the weather is the possibility that the mesospheric clouds are dense enough to carry an electric charge.
As the name suggests, CRS-27 is the 27th operational resupply mission that SpaceX will fly to the NASA International Space Station. Tuesday’s launch will be the third for this Dragon capsule and the seventh for the Falcon 9 first stage.
NASA officials said Dragon will carry about 6,300 pounds (2,860 kilograms) of cargo on CRS-27, including spacewalk equipment and vehicles, as well as about 60 new science experiments.
Among the science equipment are the two latest experiments from Tissue Chips in Space, a project led by the US National Institutes of Health and the International Space Station National Laboratory.
According to officials, both studies, Cardinal Heart 2.0 and Engineered Heart Tissues-2, use small devices containing living cells that mimic the functions of human tissues and organs to advance the development of treatments for heart failure. Written in an update on March 9th (Opens in a new tab).
Another science payload being developed on the CRS-27 is the HUNCH Ball Clamp Monopod, built by Houston-area high school students. Agency officials said the monopod could facilitate imaging in space.
The dragon will also carry food, including foods scarce for astronauts accustomed to eating food stored in a box or bag.
“I ordered the fresh fruit and refrigerated cheese kits,” Phil Dempsey, transportation integration manager for the International Space Station Program at NASA, said at the press conference Monday. “So on deck there are apples, berries, grapefruits, and oranges [and] Cherry tomatoes, plus a few different cheeses.
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