SpaceX to Attempt Cargo Mission to International Space Station

SpaceX to Attempt Cargo Mission to International Space Station

HAWTHORNE (CNS) - Three days after successfully launching 10 communications satellites into orbit from the West Coast, Hawthorne-based SpaceX is scheduled to shift to the East Coast today when it attempts to launch a cargo mission to the International Space Station.

The CRS-14 mission is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time. Showers are in the forecast, and if the launch is scrubbed, another attempt will be made Tuesday, when there will be less chance of rain.

SpaceX will be using one of its Dragon cargo-carrying spaceships, which will be launched aboard a previously used Falcon 9 rocket. It will be the company's seventh rocket flight this year and its 14th resupply launch to the space station since 2012 under a multibillion-dollar contract with NASA.

Included in the rocket's approximately two tons of cargo are several science experiments, including:

-- an Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor, which will study severe thunderstorms and their impact on Earth's atmosphere and climate;

-- an experiment testing the effect of a no-gravity environment on the process of producing high-performance products from metal powders; and

-- a research project testing a non-gravity system of delivering nutrients to plants.

The Falcon 9 rocket being used for the launch was previously used last August, also to send a cargo ship to the International Space Station. SpaceX has been recovering rockets for re-use to slash millions of dollars from the cost of space missions. But the company is not expected to try to recover the rocket after today's launch.

SpaceX on Friday launched 10 Iridium communications satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The satellites are part of what will ultimately be a 75-satellite array for Iridium's ``next-generation'' communications system, which is expected to be in place this summer.

Photo: Getty Images

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