The Falcon 9 rocket from the SpaceX is set to launch its Dragon spacecraft to low Earth orbit for a resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA early morning Monday.
According to the official statement issued by SpaceX, the ninth Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-9) aims to deliver vital cargo to low Earth orbit to the ISS. The instantaneous launch was scheduled 12:45 a.m. EDT (4:45 UTC) on July 18, and a backup launch set at 12:00 a.m. on July 20.
The Dragon will carry around 5,000 pounds of various vital supplies to NASA’s spacecraft in the ISS. The July 20 mission is the ninth of the 20 Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) missions between SpaceX and NASA. Under the agreement, SpaceX, a private firm, will supply vital cargo to NASA’s spacecraft in orbit until 2024.
“Among the almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, equipment and science research Dragon will carry is the first of two international docking adapters, which will allow Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft to dock to the station when transporting astronauts in the near future as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program,” the statement reads.
What To Expect
The Dragon spacecraft, which carries the cargo, will be deployed around 10 minutes after liftoff and is set to attach to the ISS two days thereafter. After the stage separation, the first stage of Falcon 9 is expected to land in Florida on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Landing Zone 1. The launch will be livestreamed on SpaceX’s dedicated page.
Apart from the actual launch on July 20, the public can also watch via livestream, the actual landing attempt, the ISS capture, and the spacecraft’s return flight. The Dragon would stay on the ISS for about a month and is expected to land in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.