SpaceX and NASA prepare for the thirtieth resupply mission to the ISS

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NASA and SpaceX are preparing to launch the 30th resupply mission to the International Space Station no earlier than Thursday, March 21 at 4:55 p.m. ET.

The Cargo Dragon capsule will send thousands of pounds of supplies and experiments to the ISS, helping keep the outpost in orbit.

This will be the first Space Launch Complex-40 mission to use the newly constructed Crew Access Tower. Sarah Walker, director of Dragon mission management for SpaceX, said the tower is now fully approved for crew and cargo launches from SLC-40.

Walker also said that the Crew Access Tower was similar to the Launch Complex-39A tower, but with an improved elevator, fire safety and a different emergency escape system, so instead of baskets down a zip line, it deploys a slide and the astronauts simply slide down. the parachute.

Below are some highlights of some of the experiments that were conducted aboard the CRS-30 mission.

APEX-09 – This will look at how microgravity affects two different types of grasses aboard the Space Station and how they capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

KILLICK-1 – A CubeSat that will use GNSS reflectometry to measure sea ice thickness and, using GNSS-R, will provide a cost-effective way to collect valuable data.

Multi-Resolution Scanner (MRS) Payload for Astrobee — The three small, free-floating robots aboard the ISS will receive a new payload to create 3D maps of the interior of the orbiting station. The technology could one day be used to help maintain a spacecraft without humans on board.

As of this writing, it is unknown which Falcon 9 will launch the CRS-30 mission. However, you will land back at Landing Zone 1 after your portion of the flight. The Cargo Dragon is C209, which last flew 373 days ago and is on its fourth mission to the International Space Station.

The current weather outlook is positive for a Thursday attempt with an 85% chance of acceptable weather conditions, but if something were to prevent the launch, the 24-change outlook shows only a 20% chance of acceptable weather conditions.

Questions or comments? Send me an email to rangel@teslarati.comor send me a tweet @RDAngleFoto.

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