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The 18th resupply mission launched on July 25, 2019.


NASA/Tony Gray & Kenny Allen

SpaceX rocket launches are happening so often now they seem like fairly routine affairs, 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, from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida on Thursday after its Wednesday launch was delayed by weather. 

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 was originally scheduled for Wednesday but had to be postponed due to high-altitude winds that could interfere with the blast-off and the landing on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The new launch time is 12:29 p.m. ET (9:29 a.m. PT) on Dec. 5, but keep your eyes glued to the SpaceX Twitter account for updates. 

NASA and SpaceX are both expected to broadcast the launch live, with SpaceX coverage to start about 15 minutes prior to lift-off. NASA TV launch coverage should begin a little earlier and you can tune in below:

The Falcon 9 booster will return to Earth to be reused 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. 

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.


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Originally published Dec. 1.