The Falcon 9 rocket is set to send the CRS-26 mission to the International Space Station as it sits at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center and it has an instantaneous launch window that opens at 3:54 p.m. EST. (NASA)

SpaceX prepares for ISS resupply mission; weather a concern

SPACE CENTER KENNEDY — Mother Nature permitting, SpaceX could get a rare dual launch on Tuesday: an afternoon resupply mission and an evening satellite launch.

SpaceX hopes to send its latest new Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday afternoon for the 26th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-26) mission. In fact, this is the first flight for Dragon, named C211.

The Falcon 9 rocket is at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A and has an instant launch window that opens at 3:54 p.m. EST.

However, the 45th Weather Squadron gave only a 10% chance of good launch weather, citing the threat of thunderstorms and increasing clouds.

A backup launch is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. EST Saturday, Nov. 26, pending approval from Eastern Range, SpaceX said.

The resupply mission was originally scheduled to launch on Monday, Nov. 21, but a leak was discovered in one of the Dragon’s thermal control system loops, explained Sarah Walker, SpaceX director, Dragon Mission Management, during a Friday press briefing. November 18.

The culprit was a flange with a damaged rubber seal, which has since been repaired and new fluid put into the system, Walker said. The system, she added, cools the interior of the craft.

Once the first stage separation is complete, the first stage of the rocket will land on the droneship Just Read the Instructions which is in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Dragon is expected to autonomously dock with the ISS around 6:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday, November 23.

On Tuesday, November 22 at 9:57 p.m. EST, SpaceX hopes to launch the Eutelsat 10B mission, but the weather is a concern.

SpaceX’s Dragon C211 is the latest new cargo spacecraft, but the space company has announced that it will be manufacturing a Crew Dragon in the near future. (NASA)

Dragons, Dragons, Dragons

NASA contracts these CRS missions under the Commercial Resupply Services program.

As mentioned earlier, the Dragon used in the CRS-26 is the latest new cargo spacecraft the company plans to build. This means SpaceX has a total of seven Dragon vehicles in the fleet.

Currently. But Walker revealed something new during the briefing.

“With NASA recently securing eight more commercial crew missions, and this takes us through Crew 14, as well as our exciting commercial human spaceflight manifesto, we recently decided to build another spacecraft of crew to complete our fleet of three freighters and five Dragon vehicles to carry us into the future,” Walker announced.

“A pre-flight view of the ‘Red Robin’ dwarf tomato growing in Veggie gear at Kennedy Space Center,” NASA said. (NASA)

About the assignment

For the CRS-26 mission, the Dragon will carry many science and technology experiments, NASA said.

Some of the experiences include:

Tomatoes: To help with long exploration missions, astronauts would like to grow their own crops in space, such as tomatoes.

Although some green vegetables have already been grown on the ISS via the onboard vegetable production system, the next step is to grow dwarf tomatoes.

“We are testing tomatoes, looking at the impacts of the light spectrum on crop growth, the delicious and nutritious quality of tomatoes, and microbial activity on fruits and plants,” explained Gioia Massa, Life Sciences project scientist. from NASA and VEG. -05 lead investigator, in a statement.

Test kits: Small test kits (Moon Microscope) are an in-flight medical diagnostic that an astronaut can carry. The idea is that if an astronaut gets sick on the Moon or Mars, they can take a blood sample and images with a handheld digital microscope (called a Mini-Me) and send it back to flight surgeons who can provide treatment. .

Falcon goggles: Going from earth’s gravity to weightlessness to even another environment with a different gravity like the moon or Mars wreaks havoc with an astronaut’s spatial orientation and hand-eye coordination, among other things.

To help prevent this and motion sickness, the Falcon glasses will be tested and capture high-speed video of an astronaut’s eyes that will provide detailed information about ocular alignment and balance.

“These goggles could better inform our researchers of the impacts of microgravity on crew members and their ability to adapt and work in new gravities,” explained Dr. Cherie Oubre, assistant flight scientist in the program. NASA Human Research, in a NASA statement about the experiment. . “Devices like this will be invaluable as we work to prepare astronauts for long-duration exploration missions to the Moon and beyond to Mars, and can also enhance similar technologies here on Earth.”

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