SpaceX’s next NASA cargo launch to space station delayed to Nov. 22

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SpaceX’s next cargo launch to the International Space Station (ISS) has been pushed back a day, to Tuesday (Nov. 22).

The delay, which SpaceX announced on Friday (Nov. 18), was caused by a coolant leak in the company’s Dragon cargo capsule. The leak has been fixed and Dragon is now set to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday at 3:54 p.m. EST (2054 GMT).

You can watch the liftoff here at Space.com when the time comes.

Related: 8 ways that SpaceX has transformed spaceflight

The SpaceX Dragon CRS-25 spacecraft departs the International Space Station during orbital sunrise. (Image credit: NASA TV)

If all goes according to plan, Dragon will arrive at the International Space Station just before 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT) on Wednesday (Nov. 23). 

It will deliver about 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms) of supplies and scientific experiments to the orbiting lab, including projects designed by students and sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory’s educational outreach programs created to spur interest in space sciences.

“Looking forward to this mission,” Joel Montalbano, manager of NASA’s International Space Station program, said during a briefing on Friday.

Via the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, middle school and high school students competed for the chance to deliver their projects to the ISS, which include interesting experiments involved with crystal growth, plant biology, physics and microbial research. 

Also along for the ride will be payloads originating from the Girl Scouts of America and Space Kids Global that will investigate brine shrimp, ants and cellular plant growth in low Earth orbit.

These student payloads will join a multitude of experiments designed by companies, universities and research institutes, some of which will use the space environment to try to make biomedical advances.

One project will test a new bone adhesive that could help repair fractures, for example, while another will give a new implantable drug-delivery device an off-Earth trial.

The hardware Dragon will haul up on CRS-26 includes another set of International Space Station Roll Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs), which will be installed on the orbiting lab to augment its power system.

“Of critical importance to us is the two new solar arrays that we’ll be doing spacewalks on at the end of November and early December to install and deploy aboard the International Space Station,” Montalbano said. “In addition to the two solar arrays we’ll be delivering on SpaceX 26, we have some life support equipment, some GPS hardware, some exercise hardware and some medical equipment.”

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Dragon will stay docked to the ISS for about 45 days on CRS-26 — 15 days longer than a typical SpaceX cargo flight, he added.

The longer stay was implemented “in order to have time to do the EVAs for the solar array install and keep our science requirements that are critical to the International Space Station,” Montalbano said.

Since next Thursday is Thanksgiving, an appetizing array of special holiday foods will also be onboard the resupply mission, including ice cream, spicy green beans, stuffing, candy corn and other traditional Turkey Day favorites.

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Source: space.com

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