KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — Mother nature permitting, SpaceX may get a rare double launch on Tuesday: an afternoon resupply mission and an evening satellite launch.
SpaceX hopes to send its last new Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday afternoon for the 26th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-26) mission. In fact, this is Dragon’s first flight, dubbed C211.
The Falcon 9 rocket is located at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center and has an immediate launch window that opens at 3:54 p.m. EST.
However, the 45th Weather Squadron has given only a 10% chance of good launch weather, citing the threat of thunderstorms and increasing cloud cover.
A backup launch is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 26, pending approval from Eastern Range. said SpaceX.
The resupply mission was originally scheduled to launch on Monday, Nov. 21, but a leak was discovered in one of the loops of the Dragon’s thermal control system, Sarah Walker, SpaceX’s director of Dragon Mission Management, explained at a press conference Friday. November 18.
The culprit was a flange with a damaged rubber seal, which has since been repaired and new fluid was added to the system, Walker said. The system, she added, cools the craft’s interior.
Once the first stage separation takes place, the first stage of the rocket will land on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions which is in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Dragon is expected to autonomously dock with the ISS on Wednesday, November 23 around 6:30 a.m. EST.
On Tuesday, November 22 at 9:57 p.m. EST, SpaceX hopes to launch the Eutelsat 10B missionbut the weather is worrying.
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. That means SpaceX has a total of seven Dragon vehicles in its fleet.
Currently. But Walker revealed something new at the briefing.
“With NASA recently securing eight more commercial crew missions, bringing us through crew 14, along with our exciting commercial crewed spaceflight manifesto, we recently decided to build another crew spacecraft, rounding out our fleet to three cargo and five Dragon vehicles to take us into the future,” Walker announced.
About the mission
For the CRS-26 mission, the Dragon will carry a lot of science experiments and technology, said NASA.
Some of the experiments are:
tomatoes: To aid in long exploration missions, astronauts would like to grow their own crops in space, such as tomatoes.
Even though certain green vegetables have been grown via the ISS the plant production system already on board, the next step is to grow dwarf tomatoes.
“We test tomatoes and look at the influence of the light spectrum on how well the crop grows, how tasty and nutritious the tomatoes are, and the microbial activity on the fruit and plants,” explains Gioia Massa, NASA Life Sciences project scientist and VEG . -05 principal investigator, in a statement.
Test Kits: Small test kits (Moon microscope) is an in-flight medical diagnosis that an astronaut may carry with him. The idea is that if an astronaut gets sick while on the moon or Mars, he or she can collect a blood sample and images with a portable digital microscope (called Mini-Me) and send everything back to flight surgeons who can provide treatment. .
Falcon Goggles: Going from Earth’s gravity to weightlessness to even a different environment with a different gravity, such as the Moon or Mars, has major implications for an astronaut’s spatial orientation and hand-eye coordination, among other things.
To help prevent this and motion sickness, Falcon Goggles will be tested and take high-speed videos of an astronaut’s eyes that provide detailed information about the eye’s alignment and balance.
“These goggles could better inform our researchers about the effects of microgravity on crewmembers and their ability to adapt and operate in new gravitational conditions,” said Dr. Cherie Oubre, deputy flight scientist at NASA’s Human Research Program, 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 improve similar technologies here on Earth.”