NASA provider SpaceX is scheduled to launch its 10th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station (ISS) no earlier than 10:01 a.m. EST (1501 UTC) Saturday, February 18, 2017 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Live coverage of the launch will begin at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 UTC) on NASA TV.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will lift off on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX is planning to attempt to land its Falcon 9 first stage on land.
If the launch does not occur Saturday (February 18), the next launch opportunity is 9:38 a.m. EST (1438 UTC) Sunday (February 19), with NASA TV coverage starting at 8 a.m. EST (1300 UTC).
The SpaceX Dragon is packed with science experiments, crew supplies and hardware.
According to a statement for NASA:
About 10 minutes after launch, Dragon will reach its preliminary orbit, deploy its solar arrays and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station.
Astronauts Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the station’s robotic arm to capture Dragon when it arrives at the space station after its two-day journey. The spacecraft will be berthed to the Earth-facing port on the Harmony module. The following day, the space station crew will pressurize the vestibule between the station and Dragon, then open the hatch that leads to the forward bulkhead of Dragon.
Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will begin at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 20, on NASA TV, with installation set to begin at 11:30 a.m.
For about a month, crew members will unload the spacecraft and reload it with cargo to return to Earth, NASA said. About five-and-a-half hours after it departs the station on March 21, it will splash down in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Baja California.
You can find an updated schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage here.
Bottom line: Watch the launch of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft resupply mission to the International Space Station on Saturday, February 18, 2017.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.