NASA is getting ready to launch a SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station, with liftoff scheduled for 8:44 p.m. ET on Thursday. You can catch the action live right here.
Update: July 15, 8:18 a.m. ET: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 8:44 p.m. ET. Shortly after launch, the rocket’s second stage separated from the first stage, carrying the Dragon spacecraft into orbit while the booster landed back on SpaceX’s A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. Dragon is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Saturday at 11:20 a.m. ET.
Original post follows.
The Dragon spacecraft rolled out onto the launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday and mission control has given the final go for launch, according to NASA. Dragon is attached to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will carry a 5,800-pound (1,800-kilogram) payload to the ISS. The cargo craft will orbit Earth for a day-and-a-half, and is currently scheduled to dock at the ISS Harmony module at 11:20 a.m. ET on Saturday.
NASA will begin live streaming the launch at 8:15 p.m. ET Thursday on NASA TV, which you can access through the live stream below.
The CRS-25 cargo mission will carry science experiments and crew supplies to the ISS. Some of the scientific payload making its way to the orbiting lab include an experiment on aging in the microgravity environment, another on how the space environment affects soil, and a NASA mission that will take images of Earth over the course of a year to measure the mineral composition of dust in the planet’s arid regions.
NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines are preparing for the docking of the Dragon spacecraft, while NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren is prepping cargo that will be returned with Dragon at the end of its month-long mission at the ISS, according to NASA.
The mission marks SpaceX’s 25th uncrewed resupply mission to the ISS, a part of the company’s ongoing partnership with NASA to launch payloads to the orbiting space station. SpaceX also transports astronauts to the ISS under a commercial crew contract with NASA, which it has now done on four occasions.
CRS-25 was originally meant to launch on June 10, but ground teams discovered elevated vapor levels of propellant, calling off the launch. The source of the leak was later identified as being a faulty Draco thruster valve inlet joint, which controls the flow of propellant. But the issue has apparently been dealt with, and the Dragon spacecraft can now carry these much needed supplies to the orbital lab.