Update: SpaceX is now targeting a launch today for the CRS-18 Dragon cargo mission for NASA. Liftoff is set for Thursday, July 25. Liftoff is scheduled for 6:01 p.m. EDT (2201 GMT).
SpaceX's webcast is below
SpaceX is launching a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) this evening (July 24), and you can watch the action live.
The company's robotic Dragon cargo capsule is scheduled to lift off atop a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:24 p.m. EDT (2224 GMT). Watch the event live here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company.
Both vehicles are spaceflight veterans. The Falcon 9's first stage helped launch an ISS cargo mission this past May, and the Dragon has visited the orbiting lab on two previous occasions, in April 2015 and December 2017. Such reuse is a priority for SpaceX, which aims to slash the cost of spaceflight by landing and rapidly reflying rockets and spacecraft.
Dragon will be carrying about 5,000 lbs. (2,270 kilograms) of supplies for the station, including 2,500 lbs. (1,134 kg) of science gear to support 47 of the 250 experiments aboard the ISS, NASA officials have said.
One of these experiments will investigate how microbes interact with rocks in zero gravity, potentially aiding the development of space-mining strategies. Another experiment will seek to fabricate human tissue using a 3D printer, and yet another will examine how the microgravity environment affects healing and tissue regeneration.
Dragon is also toting another International Docking Adaptor (IDA), which will allow a variety of spacecraft to link up with the ISS. That includes SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner, which the companies are developing to ferry NASA astronauts to and from the orbiting lab.
The ISS already features one IDA.
Today's mission is the 18th that SpaceX is flying under its cargo-resupply deal with NASA. The liftoff is occurring on a very special day: the 50th anniversary of the successful completion of NASA's historic Apollo 11 moon-landing mission. The capsule carrying Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969.
Dragon will arrive at the ISS on Friday (July 26) if all goes according to plan.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story stated Dragon was carrying 2,500 lbs. of supplies for the station. It is actually carrying 5,000 lbs. (2,270 kilograms).
- International Space Station: Facts, History & Tracking
- Apollo 11 at 50: A Complete Guide to the Historic Moon Landing
- SpaceX's Amazing Dragon CRS-17 NASA Cargo Launch (and Landing!) in Photos
Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
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Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.