The fifth SpaceX cargo mission launch to the International Space Station (ISS) was delayed by NASA for one week in order for crews to utilize the extra time to prepare for the trip. NewsLedge reported that according to a Dec. 11 NASA press statement, the launch has been rescheduled for Dec. 19 to no earlier than 1:20 p.m. EST.
Next weeks launch will offer something never seen before. SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket system on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean. According to NASA, an on-time launch on Dec. 19 will result in the Dragon spacecraft arriving at the space station on Sunday, Dec. 21. Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture it at approximately 6 a.m. EST. Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency will support Wilmore as they operate from the station’s cupola.
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is a space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by former PayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.
According to NASA, SpaceX was founded with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars. It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both of which were designed from conception to eventually become reusable. SpaceX also developed the Dragon spacecraft, which are flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, initially transporting cargo and later planned to carry humans to the ISS and other destinations.
NASA TV coverage of the grapple will begin at 4:30 a.m. EST. Coverage of Dragon’s installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin 9 a.m. EST.