The SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule will arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday morning (November 27) and you can watch the rendezvous live.
The robotic Dragon is scheduled to dock with the orbiting laboratory on Sunday around 7:30 am EST (1230 GMT). Watch the action live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, or directly through the space agency. (will open in a new tab); coverage starts at 6 am EST (1100 GMT).
Sunday’s meeting will conclude the short orbital Dragon chase; The SpaceX cargo ship lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday afternoon (November 26) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
On the subject: See the evolution of SpaceX rockets in pictures
Dragon is packed with approximately 7,700 pounds (3,500 kg) of cargo. The manifesto includes two more International Space Station (iROSA) deployed solar arrays, equipment designed to augment the orbiting laboratory’s existing solar wings.
Ultimately, six iROSAs will be installed on the ISS, which together will increase the power supply to the station by 20-30%. To date, spacewalking astronauts have installed two new arrays.
During this flight, Dragon will also carry a wide range of scientific experiments to the ISS. For example, one study directed at the station will grow dwarf cherry tomatoes to help increase off-Earth food production. The other study will continue previous research in microgravity with 3D cardiac tissue culture. (will open in a new tab)testing potential therapies that could prevent or slow the progression of heart disease.
(Image credit: NASA TV)
The current Dragon mission is called CRS-26 because it is the 26th robotic cargo flight that SpaceX is flying to the ISS for NASA. CRS-26 was supposed to take off on Tuesday (November 22) but was delayed due to bad weather.
Cargo dragons typically stay docked to the ISS for about a month, NASA officials said, but the CRS-26 will stay in the air for 45 days or so. Additional time was allocated in part for the EVA required for the installation of iROSA.
CRS-26 will end with a splashdown in the ocean using a parachute. Dragon is the only currently operational cargo ship that returns to Earth safe and sound after completing its missions. Two other active cargo ships, Northrop Grumman’s Signus and Russia’s Progress, are destined to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere after their time in orbit expires.
Mike Wall is the author of Out There (will open in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrations by Carl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or facebook (will open in a new tab).