WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The sixth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch on Monday, April 13, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
The company’s Falcon 9 rocket will lift off at 4:33 p.m., carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the station. Dragon is filled with more than 4, 300 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support about 40 of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during the space station’s Expeditions 43 and 44.
In addition to launch coverage, NASA also will host a series of prelaunch news conferences on Sunday, April 12, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All briefings, which are subject to a change in time, will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.
During panel discussions Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., scientists and researchers will discuss the onboard science and research studies. The series of briefings will conclude with a prelaunch news conference at 5 p.m. A post-launch briefing will be held approximately 90 minutes after liftoff Monday.
Science investigations launching on Dragon include commercial and academic payloads in myriad disciplines, exploring new ways to possibly counteract the microgravity-induced cell damage seen during spaceflight; studying the effects of microgravity on the most common cells in bones; gathering new insight that could lead to treatments for osteoporosis and muscle wasting conditions; continuing studies into astronaut vision changes; and testing a new material that could one day be used as a synthetic muscle for robotic explorers of the future.
A Monday launch will have the Dragon spacecraft arriving at the space station Wednesday, April 15. Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture Dragon at approximately 7 a.m. Flight Engineer Terry Virts of NASA will support Cristoforetti as they operate from the station’s cupola. NASA TV coverage of grapple will begin at 5 a.m. Coverage of Dragon’s installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin at 9:15 a.m.
After about five weeks at the space station, Dragon will return to Earth filled with more than 3, 000 pounds of cargo including crew supplies, hardware and computer resources, science experiments, and space station hardware.
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