SpaceX’s next cargo launch to the International Space Station (ISS) has been pushed back a day, to Tuesday (November 22).
The delay, which SpaceX announced Friday (Nov. 18), was caused by a coolant leak in the company’s Dragon cargo capsule. The leak has been fixed and Dragon is now set to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday at 3:54 p.m. EST (2054 GMT).
You can watch the liftoff here on Space.com when the time comes.
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If all goes according to plan, Dragon will arrive at the International Space Station just before 6 a.m. EST (11:00 GMT) on Wednesday (November 23).
It will deliver about 7,700 pounds (3,500 kg) of supplies and science experiments to the orbiting laboratory, including projects designed by students and funded by ISS National Laboratory educational programs created to spark interest in the space sciences.
“I’m looking forward to this mission,” Joel Montalbano, NASA’s International Space Station program manager, said during a briefing Friday.
Through the Student Spaceflight Experiments program, middle and high school students competed for the opportunity to deliver their projects to the ISS, which include interesting experiments related to crystal growth, plant biology, physics and microbial research.
Also en route will be payloads from the Girl Scouts of America and Space Kids Global that will research brine shrimp, ants and cellular plant growth in low Earth orbit.
These student payloads will join a host of experiments designed by companies, universities and research institutions, some of which will use the space environment to try to make biomedical advances.
One project will test a new bone glue that could help repair fractures, for example, while another will give a new implantable drug delivery device a test outside of Earth.
The hardware that Dragon will carry on CRS-26 includes another set of International Space Station Solar Arrays (iROSAs), which will be installed in the orbiting laboratory to boost its power system.
“Critical for us are the two new solar arrays that we will be spacewalking on in late November and early December to install and deploy on the International Space Station,” Montalbano said. “In addition to the two solar arrays that we will be delivering on SpaceX 26, we have life support equipment, GPS hardware, exercise equipment and medical equipment.”
Dragon will remain docked to the ISS for about 45 days on CRS-26 — 15 days longer than a typical SpaceX cargo flight, he added.
The longer stay was implemented “to have time to do the EVAs to install the solar array and maintain our science requirements that are critical to the International Space Station,” Montalbano said.
Since next Thursday is Thanksgiving, a mouth-watering array of special holiday foods will also be at the resupply mission, including ice cream, spicy green beans, stuffing, corn on the cob and other traditional Turkey Day favorites.
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