SpaceX is ready to launch cargo Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) this weekend to deliver cargo for NASA. The launch will mark SpaceX’s 23nd Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-23) mission and the third flight under the company’s second contract with NASA. The Dragon spacecraft will be propelled to orbit by a thrice-flown Falcon 9 booster, identified as B1061-4. SpaceX and NASA teams transported the Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft to the launch pad on Tuesday. As seen in the photo above, the booster is filled with black scorch marks from reentering Earth’s atmosphere three times before. *08/26/2021 Author's note: Booster number was corrected from B1069 to B1061.
Falcon 9’s first-stage booster B1061-4 previously launched a pair of crewed missions, Crew-1 and Crew-2, which launched astronauts to the Space Station; It also launched the Sirius SXM-8 satellite. SpaceX will attempt to recover the booster a fourth time by landing it on its new autonomous droneship called ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas,’ which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s coast. "The Dragon spacecraft supporting this mission previously supported SpaceX’s 21st Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-21) mission," the company shared. Reusing vehicles reduces the cost of spaceflight. SpaceX has demonstrated its previously-flown booster fleet and capsules are still highly reliable after being reused.
Today SpaceX finalized pre-flight preparations ahead of the CRS-23 mission. “Static fire test complete – targeting Saturday, August 28 at 3:37 a.m. EDT for Falcon 9 launch of Dragon’s 23rd cargo resupply mission to the Space Station,” SpaceX announced. The rocket will liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. A backup launch opportunity is also planned for Sunday, August 29 at 3:14 a.m. EDT. The Cape Canaveral U.S. Space Force Station 45th Weather Squadron predict a 60% chance of favorable weather conditions for Saturday’s launch.
Once in orbit, the Dragon spacecraft is expected to arrive to the orbiting laboratory by Sunday, August 29. NASA says the spacecraft will dock to the ISS Harmony module at approximately 11:00 a.m. EDT. “Dragon will deliver a variety of NASA investigations, including one that will determine if metabolites from grape skins and seeds used in wine-making could help prevent and treat osteoporosis,” the agency shared. You can watch a live broadcast of the CRS-23 mission in the video below, courtesy of SpaceX [date is subject to change]. To find out more about what the CRS-23 Dragon capsule will carry, read the previous Tesmanian.com article: Find Out What's On board!
WATCH IT LIVE!
All Images Source: SpaceX & NASA