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SpaceX Dragon set for next resupply mission to ISS

SpaceX Dragon set for next resupply mission to ISS

The weather looks mostly favorable for Thursday's launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center and subsequent first stage landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The cargo ship will carry 6,000 pounds worth of supplies and experiments, including an experimental navigation system, live mice and fruit flies, to support over 250 science and research investigations aboard the space station. The members on the space station crew have a series of experiments they are scheduled to conduct with materials from the resupply, including the study of neutron stars and fire in space.

While Elon Musk is considering leaving President Donald Trump's advisory council his company SpaceX is getting ready, along with NASA, to launch a resupply mission to the International Space Station. It's tough to throwaway a rocket each time you use it and expect the cost of launch to lower dramatically - the same goes for spacecraft.

On this trip, the Dragon will deliver almost 6,000 pounds of supplies - everything from food for the crew to fruit flies and rodents that will be used in various experiments.

SpaceX leased pad 39A from NASA in 2014 and after refurbishments placed the pad back in service this year for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011. SpaceX launched its first reused rocket booster in March. This is SpaceX's 11th mission under that contract.

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Last year, Benjamin Reed, director of commercial crew mission management at SpaceX revealed the mission in a presentation at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. Next launch is set for Saturday at 5:07 p.m. The Musketeers haven't given a figure on how much reusing the dragon capsule will save, but it's expected to be a lot.

The Falcon 9 rocket slated to launch the capsule is new.

A handful of cubesats (a miniaturized satellite for space research) developed by schools and universities for launch.

The U.S. Air Force's weather forecast for Saturday calls for a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions - the same outlook for Thursday's launch opportunity - with anvil clouds and cumulus clouds from nearby storms the prime concerns. Launch Complex 39 (LC-39A) will celebrate its 100th launch when the Falcon 9 engines ignite this evening.

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