Skip to main content

SpaceX resupply mission to International Space Station scheduled for next week

The two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off carrying the SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station for its 16th commercial resupply services mission. NASA

SpaceX will shortly be launching another resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The SpaceX launch is scheduled to take place at 4:21 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 30. This will mark SpaceX’s 17th mission as part of the NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract, under which SpaceX delivers food, scientific equipment, and other supplies to the ISS.

The launch will make use of a Dragon reusable spacecraft, launched by a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The Dragon is reusable in that components used to form the capsule, like the hull, thrusters, propellant tanks, and other structural elements, can be used for multiple launches. Other parts of the capsule, like the heat shield and batteries, must be replaced for each launch.

SpaceX is in the public eye for less than positive reasons lately, as a possible explosion of their new Crew Dragon capsule occurred during testing last week. But this shouldn’t affect the launch of the Dragon spacecraft, which is different from the new Crew Dragon capsule.

The Dragon craft will carry equipment to enable more scientific experiments aboard the ISS, including NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3) and Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6). The OCO-3 is for measuring and mapping the levels of carbon dioxide on our planet from space, which is important for understanding carbon’s role in climate change. The STP-H6 is a system for tracking and space communications. It uses X-rays instead of the radio wave frequencies which are typically used for communications, generating beams of X-rays which are modulated by an ultraviolet light-emitting diode (LED).

The journey to the ISS will take two days, and on its arrival the craft will be grabbed by the ISS’s robotic arm, controlled by Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques. Once the craft has been captured, it will be installed at the bottom of the ISS module Harmony.

If you want to watch the launch, live coverage will be available through NASA TV starting on Monday. The relevant events are as follows (all times EDT):

Monday, April 29:

  • 10:30 a.m.  — SpaceX CRS-17 What’s On Board Briefing
  • 1 p.m. — SpaceX CRS-17 Pre-Launch News Conference

Tuesday, April 30:

  • 4 a.m. — Coverage of the Launch of the SpaceX CRS-17 Dragon Cargo Craft Mission to the International Space Station
  • 5:30 a.m. — SpaceX CRS-17 Post-Launch News Conference (time subject to change)
Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts are on their way to the space station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew-4 astronauts launching from the Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) launched from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A at just after 3:50 a.m. ET (12:50 a.m. PT) on Wednesday, April 27.

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, along with Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, are now on their way to the orbiting outpost with docking expected to take place on Wednesday evening. The crew will spend the next six months living and working aboard the station 250 miles above Earth.

Read more
Boeing gears up for crucial space mission in May
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.

Boeing and its launch partners are making final preparations for the next test flight of the beleaguered Starliner CST-100 spacecraft.

Orbital Flight Test-2, currently slated for May 19, is expected to demonstrate the Starliner’s human transportation capabilities in a crewless mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Read more
How to watch SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts launch to ISS
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral.

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

NASA and SpaceX are making final preparations for the launch of four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. The Crew-4 astronauts were originally supposed to launch on Saturday, April 23, but due to the late departure from the ISS of the Ax-1 mission, the mission won't get underway until Wednesday, April 27, at the earliest.

Read more