Watch: SpaceX to launch a Falcon 9 rocket to resupply the international space station
SpaceX is targeting Monday, April 2 for an instantaneous launch of its fourteenth Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-14) at 4:30 p.m. EDT, or 20:30 UTC, from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
An instantaneous backup launch opportunity is on Tuesday, April 3 at 4:08 p.m. EDT, or 20:08 UTC. Dragon will separate from Falcon 9’s second stage about 10 minutes after liftoff and attach to the space station on Wednesday, April 4.
Both Falcon 9 and the Dragon spacecraft for the CRS-14 mission are flight-proven. Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported the CRS-12 mission in August 2017 and Dragon previously supported the CRS-8 mission in April 2016.
SpaceX will not attempt to recover Falcon 9’s first stage after launch.
Dragon will be filled with about 5,800 pounds of supplies, payloads and vehicle hardware, including critical materials to directly support science and research investigations that will occur onboard the orbiting laboratory.
SpaceX CRS-14 is the fourteenth of up to 20 missions to the International Space Station that SpaceX will fly for NASA under the first CRS contract. In January 2016, NASA announced that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft were selected to resupply the space station through 2024 as part of a second Commercial Resupply Services contract award. Under the CRS contracts, SpaceX has restored an American capability to deliver and return significant amounts of cargo, including live plants and animals, to and from the orbiting laboratory. A variant of the Dragon spacecraft, called Crew Dragon, is being developed for U.S.- based crew transport to and from the space station.
On Wednesday, April 4 International Space Station crew members will use the station’s 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) robotic arm to reach out and capture the Dragon spacecraft and attach it to the orbiting laboratory.
Dragon will return to Earth with more than 3,900 pounds of cargo after an approximately one-month stay at the International Space Station. About five hours after Dragon leaves the space station, it will conduct its deorbit burn, which lasts up to 10 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes for Dragon to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.