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SpaceX Preparing for First Launch of Its New Cargo Capsule

The private company's 26th resupply mission for NASA will carry an experiment that could eventually allow astronauts to grow their own food.

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A bright white trail is in view after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon capsule lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 14, 2022, on the company’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission for the agency to the International Space Station
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon Capsule to the ISS on July 14 for the 25th commercial resupply mission.
Photo: SpaceX

NASA is gearing up to launch a cargo mission to the International Space Station, delivering supplies and a new batch of experiments aboard a brand new SpaceX Dragon capsule.

Update 4:00 p.m. ET: Due to unfavorable weather conditions, Tuesday’s launch has been scrubbed. The next launch attempt for the cargo mission is on Saturday, November 26 at 2:20 p.m. ET, with a backup opportunity on Sunday, November 27 at 1:58 p.m. ET.


Original post follows.

The launch of the 26th commercial resupply mission is slated for no earlier than 3:54 p.m. (all times Eastern) on Tuesday from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Dragon capsule will be attached to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, and is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Wednesday at 5:57 a.m. NASA will begin its live coverage of the launch at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.


You can tune into the action live through NASA TV, as well as the space agency’s app and website, or through the feed below.

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

For the latest mission, NASA’s commercial partner SpaceX will debut a new Dragon cargo capsule, named C211. Tuesday’s launch will mark the the first flight of C211, which is the third Dragon 2 cargo spacecraft built by SpaceX, according to Space News. “This is the last new cargo Dragon spacecraft we plan to build,” Sarah Walker, director of Dragon mission management at SpaceX, is quoted in SpaceNews as saying during a press briefing on November 18. “We recently decided to build one more crewed spacecraft as well.”


As the name suggests, the CRS-26 mission marks SpaceX’s 26th uncrewed resupply mission to the ISS as 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, sending the fifth crew to the space station in October.

The mission was originally scheduled to launch on Monday, but its liftoff was pushed back a day after a leak was detected in the Dragon capsule’s thermal control system.


CRS-26 will carry around 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms) of supplies and experiments to the ISS including four, shoe-box sized satellites to study satellite communication methods, space weather, and test new technology for robotic assembly of large telescopes, according to NASA.

The payload will also include a plant growth experiment dubbed Veggie, and it’s an effort to grow tomatoes on board the ISS for astronauts to munch on while living on the station. “We also are examining the overall effect of growing, tending, and eating crops on crew behavioral health,” Gioia Massa, NASA Life Sciences project scientist and VEG-05 principal investigator, said in a statement. “All of this will provide valuable data for future space exploration.”


The cargo mission will also deliver the second pair of the space station’s new solar arrays, dubbed iROSA, which NASA astronauts are in the process of installing outside the ISS to increase its power generation capability by upwards of 30%.

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