Published on 5 December 2020 |
December 5, 2020 of NASA
Tune in live starting at 11:15 am EST as the 21st SpaceX cargo refueling mission to the International Space Station takes off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The launch is scheduled for 11:39 am. This will be the first flight of the upgraded cargo version of the Dragon 2 spacecraft. Over 250 scientific investigations are on board, as well as the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, which is intended to be connected to the station’s Tranquility module. This first commercially funded space station airlock will increase external space research capacity at the space station.
Originally published on NASA.gov.
Following a preliminary press conference at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA and SpaceX remain “in favor” [today’s] launch of SpaceX’s 21st commercial refueling services mission to the International Space Station.
“This morning, we held a meeting of the mission management team and we unanimously agreed on this launch and docking,” said Kenny Todd, deputy program manager at NASA’s International Space Station Program Office on Friday. “We are excited to move forward with it; we will see how things go in the next couple of days, but hopefully by the middle of the week we will have a dragon coming, if not already attacked (at the station). “
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with the upgraded Dragon cargo spacecraft on top, is ready for launch at Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, and weather authorities now predict a 50% chance of favorable weather conditions for takeoff. While this is a slight increase from previous launch predictions, a cold front moving through the state of Florida will make teams keep an eye on the weather.
“Previously, it looked like the cold front would pass right during the launch window, but the trend is now our friend: Models are now bringing that cold front before the launch window,” said Melody Lovin, US Space Launch. Force and meteorological officer for the 45th Space Wing.
“For this reason, we expect most of the rain associated with the cold front to have practically stopped before the launch window opens. We’re not exactly sure when the clouds will clear for us. Hopefully, the sooner the cold front passes, the more clean it will be. “
The first mission for SpaceX under NASA’s second commercial refueling services contract, CRS-21 will provide more than 6,400 pounds of supplies, equipment and critical materials needed to support a variety of scientific and research investigations that will take place during the Expeditions 64 and 65. With SpaceX’s Dragon crew transporting a crew of four to the orbiting lab last month, the mission will also mark the first time two Dragon spacecraft will be attacked simultaneously to the space station.
“This is truly a season of Dragon’s continued presence for the foreseeable future,” said Sarah Walker, director of SpaceX Dragon Mission Management. “We are thrilled with all the missions we will fly for NASA and the International Space Station program, both for cargo and crew, and it is truly just an honor to be a part of them.”
Dragon will spend about a month attached to the orbiting lab before disengaging and returning to Earth on its own with 5,200 pounds of research and return cargo. The spacecraft is scheduled to splash into the Atlantic Ocean upon its arrival.
Takeoff is scheduled for 11:39 am EST tomorrow, December 5th, with coverage of the live launch countdown starting at 11:15 am EST. Follow him here on the blog, NASA TV or the agency’s website. Learn more about the mission at: NASA.
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