SpaceX to launch 19th ISS resupply mission Wednesday, Dec. 4 – Daily News

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SpaceX plans to launch another resupply mission to the International Space Station Wednesday, Dec. 4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida — an endeavor that has become somewhat routine for the the Hawthorne aerospace company.

It will be the company’s 19th such mission.

The launch can be watched live no earlier than 9:51 a.m. Wednesday at SpaceX.com/webcast and followed along on the company’s Twitter feed. 

A Dragon capsule will carry scientific experiments and a handful of small satellites for NASA to the station. That capsule is the same type of craft that will soon carry U.S. astronauts into space, although the crewed version is much more sophisticated.

The Dragon cargo spacecraft being used Wednesday has flown to the ISS twice before. Last week, the rocket booster was test fired on the launch pad.

After liftoff, the Falcon 9 booster will descend back to Earth and land on a drone ship in the ocean named “Of Course I Still Love You.”

Among the cargo being hauled to the ISS is a next-generation Earth imaging system, which can be used to help agriculture and forestry. Another investigation will look at understanding how fire spreads in space, which could also have implications for controlling blazes on Earth.

One project will deploy an upgraded system to detect leaks on the ISS — an important task given the small pressure leak that developed in August 2018. 

Another experiment will involve observing malting barley in microgravity.

The Dragon capsule is expected to reach the Space Station about 6 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. The arrival can also be watched live through NASA on Youtube.

SpaceX, meanwhile, continues working toward a Crew Dragon mission early next year, which will mark the first time U.S. astronauts launch into space from U.S. soil since the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

SpaceX is also working toward advancing its Starship Mk1 prototype at its Boca Chica, Texas, test facility. The craft is a 164-foot tall full-sized version of the company’s most ambitious project yet, Starship, which will eventually ferry humans to the moon and Mars, possibly as early as the mid-2020s. Starship Mk1 is expected to make a test flight before the end of the year, according to company founder Elon Musk in September.

But regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration may slow down the company’s advance, given concern in South Texas among the test facility’s surrounding communities. An August test flight of its first prototype, Starhopper, was postponed due to regulatory concerns. That craft rose to about 600 feet. For the next flight, Musk has said, the Starship Mk1 will rise to about 12 miles above the ground.

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