SpaceX CRS-4 launch to deliver 3D printer to ISS cancelled due to bad weather


SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket transporting Dragon spacecraft failed to launch on Saturday, Sept. 20, because of bad weather conditions, the space agency said in a statement.

The rocket and spacecraft were supposed to launch at around 10:53 PDT for its SpaceX 4 Commercial Resupply Services flight with ISS-RapidScat mission.

“The launch director and team have made the determination to scrub today’s launch attempt,” NASA launch commentator Mike Curie was stated in the space agency’s blog.

Next attempt for launch is set on Sunday, Sept. 21, at 1:52 in the morning EDT from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The countdown coverage will start at around 12:45 EDT on NASA’s launch blog and on NASA TV.

The weather forecast of the agency calls for “40 percent chance of acceptable conditions” for the impending launch.

The Dragon spacecraft is carrying over 5,000 pounds of supplies, technology demonstrations and science experiments. Technology demonstrations include critical materials that will support 255 research and science investigations throughout the Expeditions 41 and 42 of the International Space Station (ISS).

Among these are the Ames student Fruit-Fly Experiment that intends “to gain a better understanding of the relationship between oxidative stress – which involves a build-up of harmful molecules inside cells that can cause cell damage, and it is associated with infections and disease – and neurobehavioral adaptation to microgravity in the fruit fly.”

Another experiment on board the spacecraft is Seedling Growth-2 that aims to grow seeds from the Arabidopsis thaliana plant, into small seedlings in space for a better comprehension of cellular signaling mechanisms engaged in the growth and movement of plant.

Rodent Research-1 experiment, meanwhile, is the initial voyage of the new hardware system of Rodent Research providing the ability to perform recurrent long-term biological research studies while aboard a space station.

The Micro-8 experiment also onboard Dragon spacecraft will study the manner by which spaceflight affects organisms considered potentially infectious, such as yeast strain Candida albicans, and evaluate its morphology virulence responses and gene expression.

The spacecraft will also transport the ISS-RapidScat, a replacement instrument the QuikScat Earth satellite of NASA that monitors ocean winds, for monitoring hurricane, predicting weather and researching on climate.

Aside from that, it will also carry to the ISS a Zero-G 3D printer hoping that, one day, astronauts will be able to fix their spacecraft by activating spare parts while on the spot. It is the first-ever 3D printer that was designed for zero gravity operation. It aims to understand the long-terms effects of microgravity on 3D printing as well as how it can support space exploration in the future.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will continue to be attached for over four weeks to the Harmony module of the ISS. Later it will detach and come down off the Baja California seaboard carrying nearly two tons of equipment and experiment samples from the space station.

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