Feb 09, 2017 07:16 AM EST
SpaceX To Launch From NASA Complex 39A On Feb. 18 To Resupply The ISS [Video]
SpaceX is all go for a launch scheduled on February 18, its 10th resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
The announcement was made by SpaceX via Twitter, citing that the launch will be made from the NASA's historic LC-39A Kennedy Space Center, a first for SpaceX to launch from the site. The launch pad hosted many famous mission launches, including the Apollo 11, since it was built in the 1960s. The launch pad was leased by SpaceX from NASA since 2014, according to Space.com.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 8, 2017
The liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket along with an unmanned Dragon capsule carrying ISS supplies is expected just before 10 a.m. ET. The Dragon capsule will be filled with tons of supplies and equipment for the ISS that include a new instrument that will study the ozone layer from the ISS's point-of-view. SpaceX has reportedly retrofitted the pad to suit its Falcon 9 and future Falcon Heavy rockets.
The Dragon capsule will also carry with it an experiment to be monitored in a sealed environment, MRSA, a superbug. The experiment aims to investigate how the bacterium grows and mutates in a zero gravity environment.
It will also carry in its payload another experiment to grow and study antibody crystals, and a tech demonstration called "three-eyed" Raven aiming to gather data to be used in future autonomous rendezvous missions involving satellites and spacecraft. Additionally, it will also bring Earth-monitoring equipment, to sense lightning and gasses in Earth's stratosphere.
Meanwhile, seemingly back on track, SpaceX plans to make launches, sending up a rocket every two to three weeks starting later this month, according to Slash Gear. SpaceX has been tapped to shuttle astronauts to the ISS beginning late 2018.
Ahead of which, SpaceX will test the company's planned space taxi after it redesigns the turbopump in its rockets, addressing the cracking issue that has placed serious concern for NASA and the U.S. Air Force. The video below is of a similar launch by SpaceX to the ISS on Jul. 18, 2016.