SpaceX rocket launches are happening so often they seem like fairly routine affairs now — but they’re still must-watch events. A brand-new Falcon 9 booster is scheduled to launch a Dragon capsule, carrying scientific payloads and a handful of CubeSats for NASA, direct to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission, known as CRS-19, will be the 19th resupply voyage for SpaceX and the third time this particular Dragon capsule is headed to space.
The launch window opens no earlier than 12:51 p.m. ET (9:51 a.m. PT) on Dec. 4 andSpaceX usually broadcasts all of its launches live, with coverage to start about 15 minutes prior to lift-off. You can also keep your eyes glued to the SpaceX Twitter account for updates.
NASA TV launch coverage will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. ET (9:30 a.m. PT) Dec. 4and you can tune in below:
The Falcon 9 booster will return to Earth to be re-used in subsequent missions by SpaceX, while the Dragon capsule starts its journey to the ISS. SpaceX’s previous launch knocked down two more recycling milestones including reusing a Falcon 9 booster and sticking the landing for a fourth time. That landing took place on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship and the same capture is expected during this mission.
The Dragon capsule is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Dec. 7, with capture occurring at approximately 6 a.m. ET. It will return to Earth on Jan. 4.
A number of intriguing experiments are headed to the ISS on this resupply mission. The Japanese space agency, JAXA, will send up a new, high resolution imager to study Earth’s surface and identify different materials and brewing giant, Anheuser-Busch InBev, will be testing how microgravity affects barley malting. Forty mice will also be in for the ride of their lives, as researchers aim to better understand how bones and muscles are affected by prolonged time in space.
Additional experiments will assess the way fire spreads in space and a new way to store robots that can detect leaks on the outside of the ISS. And after the last Sherlock Holmes-esque mystery, “Where did the hole in the space station come from?”, that sounds like a necessary upgrade.