Don't miss out on SpaceX's rocket launch this April 2018. With the weather anticipated to be fair on the afternoon of April 2, the Falcon 9 has been given an 80 percent go by the Air Force.
The two-stage rocket is taking off at 4:30 p.m. from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 40 in Florida. It's headed to the International Space Station to deliver around 5,800 pounds of supplies and equipment as part of the Dragon CRS-14 mission.
This mission, which is the company's 14th Commercial Resupply Services Contract with NASA, marks the second time that the federal space agency will be using a spacecraft and a booster that has been previously used.
The nine-Merlin engine booster was first flown in August 2017 for CRS-12, while the Dragon capsule was sent on the CRS-8 mission back in April 2016.
Should any complication or other forms of delay occur during the event, the window will be rescheduled at 4:08 p.m. the following day, April 3.
Highlights Of The Dragon CRS-14 Mission
In particular, the Falcon 9 is carrying a cargo intended for research by the National Laboratory. It includes an Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor, which will come useful in observing severe thunderstorms and determining their role in the Earth's climate.
According to the Kennedy Space Center, the payload also contains investigations on the effect of a low-gravity environment on the production of resilient materials from metal powders and the propagation of food while in space through the Veggie Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System.
Purpose Behind The Multi-billion CRS Contracts
CRS contracts have revolutionized the way scientists conduct experiments aboard the ISS. Because crews can now live continuously in space for years, they can already complete long-term human and robotic experiments.
As of January 2016, the ISS has served as the venue for a total of 1,700 studies, which were conducted by representatives of more than 83 countries. More of these scientific inquiries are expected until the year 2024 as NASA work toward its ultimate goal of exploring the planet Mars.
These missions have been awarded to two private companies, namely SpaceX and Orbital ATK. They will be ordered as needed, with each flight carrying a unique payload.
"The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract enables us to adjust as necessary for additional missions or contingencies so we can provide the greatest benefits possible from this great international asset," explains ISS Program Manager Kirk Shireman in an official statement.
Going Beyond Commercial Cargo Services And The Low-Earth Orbit
Unlike other CRS missions where SpaceX's boosters made a landing back to Earth, the CRS-14 will not involve a local recovery. It has been planned for a "demonstration mission" that will take it toward a farther trajectory.
Through this, the company's engineers can obtain more data that can be used during the Falcon 9's future reentry and landing. While the rocket is in space, a report states that it will be replaced by its new version known as the Block V.
Live coverage of SpaceX's rocket launch on April 2 is available through NASA Television and the agency's official website. It begins at 4 p.m. with a post-launch news conference at 6:30 p.m.