SpaceX is set to launch its latest cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday (March 14), provided Mother Nature cooperates.
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 orbiting a Falcon 9 rocket.
LRR hasn’t detected any pressing issues, so CRS-27 is still on course for its launch Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. EST (0030 GMT March 15) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“The vehicle is healthy, all systems are ready for launch,” Sarah Walker, SpaceX’s Dragon mission management manager, said during a press conference after the LRR Monday night. “The main thing that teams continue to monitor over the next 24 hours is the weather.”
You can watch the launch here on Space.com, Courtesy of SpaceX (Opens in a new tab) And NASA. Coverage will begin 15 minutes before take-off. We’ll also transmit footage of Dragon’s ISS rendezvous and docking, which is expected to happen Thursday (March 16) at 7:52 AM EST (1152 GMT).
Related: Facts about SpaceX’s Dragon capsule
And don’t worry so much about weather-related peeling; The weather looks good too, having cleared up a bit as it was Monday.
“The patterns have definitely tilted in our favor,” Arlena Moses, launch meteorologist for the 45th Weather Squadron for Space Force Station Cape Canaveral, said during Monday’s news conference.
“While earlier we were looking for a possible probability of violation of around 50%, now I can say we’re only down to 20%,” Musa said. She added that the main concern about the weather is the possibility that midlevel clouds are dense enough to carry an electric charge.
As its name indicates, CRS-27 is the 27th operational resupply mission that SpaceX will fly to the International Space Station for NASA. 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 approximately 6,300 pounds (2,860 kilograms) of cargo on CRS-27, including spacewalk and vehicle equipment, as well as about 60 new science experiments.
Among the scientific equipment are the latest two experiments of Tissue Chips in Space, a project run by the US National Institutes of Health and the International Space Station National Laboratory.
“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,” according to NASA officials. wrote in an update on March 9 (Opens in a new tab).
Another science payload being developed on the CRS-27 is the HUNCH Ball Clamp Monopod, which was built by high school students in the Houston area. Agency officials said the monopod could facilitate imaging in space.
The dragon will also carry food, including some treats that are rare for astronauts who are used to eating preserved foods from a box or bag.
“The crews have requested some fresh fruit and refrigerated cheeses,” Phil Dempsey, transportation integration manager for the International Space Station Program at NASA, said during Monday’s news conference. “So on board there are apples, berries, grapefruits, oranges [and] Cherry tomatoes, plus a few different cheeses.”
Mike Wall is the author of “outside (Opens in a new tab)Book (Major Grand Publishing, 2018; illustration by Carl Tate), a book about the search for aliens. Follow him on Twitter @tweet (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @tweet (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
“Beer fan. Travel specialist. Amateur alcohol scholar. Bacon trailblazer. Music fanatic.”