For its next resupply mission, SpaceX is targeting April 13 as the launch date for its Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch is scheduled to begin at 4:33 p.m. EDT from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40. NASA will be televising the event, with coverage starting at 3:30 p.m.
If the launch proceeds successfully, the Dragon spacecraft is expected to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) on April 15. Samantha Cristoforetti, a European Space Agency flight engineer for Expedition 43, will be tasked with capturing the Dragon spacecraft using the space station's 57.7-foot robotic arm. The capture is set to occur at 7:14 a.m., with Terry Virts, a flight engineer from NASA, aiding Cristoforetti in operating the ISS's cupola. NASA will also be covering this stage of the mission starting at 5 a.m. Coverage for when the Dragon spacecraft is installed on the Harmony module's port facing Earth begins at 9:15 a.m.
Installation is necessary because the Dragon spacecraft will be spending five weeks at the ISS. When it returns, it will be filled with cargo, such as computer resources, supplies from the crew, science experiments and hardware from the space station itself.
When it deploys from Earth, however, the Dragon will be filled with over 4, 300 pounds of payloads and supplies, including critical materials that will be needed to continue research and science investigations on the ISS as carried out by Expedition 43 and 44 crew members. The spacecraft has a total launch payload capacity of 13, 228 pounds.
If the resupply mission launch doesn't push through on the target date for whatever reason, then it will be rescheduled for April 14 at 4:10 p.m. The launch will be the sixth in SpaceX's series of commercial resupply services agreed upon with NASA and will be the seventh time that a Dragon spacecraft has been to the ISS.
You might also like:
NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services: A New Era in Spaceflight - History of International Space Station (ISS) Cargo and Crew, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, Bigelow
eBooks (Progressive Management)