NASA and SpaceX are currently targeting the launch of the CRS-29 resupply mission to the International Space Station this evening at 8:28 p.m. ET (01:28 UTC on the 10th).
The CRS-29 mission, the 9th in the Phase 2 portion of the contract awarded to SpaceX by NASA, will deliver 6,500 lbs (9,600 kg) of supplies and new experiments to the orbiting outpost and will stay docked for a month before returning to Earth.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 8, 2023
If the launch occurs on time, Cargo Dragon will autonomously dock to the Harmony module on the Space Station at 3:45 am ET Saturday morning.
A brief showcase of some of the experiments flying on this mission:
ILLUMA-T – This will test better communications from the ground to the space station to be able to send more images and videos via laser and is faster than using traditional radio signals.
NASA’s AWE – This experiment will use infrared imaging to measure atmospheric gravity waves, which can affect on-ground and space-based communications.
Aquamembrane 3 – The ESA’s continuing investigation into replacing “multi-filtration beds used for water recovery.” The agency is looking to replace that with a membrane found in biological cells, aquaporin. These are able to filter water faster and more efficiently than the current system.
Forty rodents will also be flying to the ISS, with 20 of them returning when the CRS 29 mission is complete.
Many more experiments and supplies are flying on this mission, but with Thanksgiving this month, crews will receive some “holiday treats” to add something different to the meals from their usual menu.
This launch was initially scheduled to occur on the 5th of the month, but there was an issue due to a leak of an NTO (nitrogen tetroxide) valve on the Dragon spacecraft, SpaceX crews were able to successfully replace the valve and adjust to the new launch date.
As for the vehicles launching this mission, both are on their 2nd flights. Booster 1081 is assigned for this mission, having previously launched Crew 7 to the ISS and Cargo Dragon C211, which previously launched to the ISS on the CRS 26 mission.
After lift-off, B1081 will perform a boostback burn and land at LZ-1 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Weather shouldn’t be an issue for tonight’s launch; the 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 95% chance of acceptable weather for the instantaneous launch window. If a technical issue prevents launch, there is a backup opportunity 24 hours later with a 90% chance of acceptable weather.
Watch the launch live below on NASA’s YouTube channel!