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How to watch SpaceX launch its upgraded Cargo Dragon on resupply mission today

CRS-21 Mission

Update December 6: The mission has been pushed back due to poor weather. The Cargo Dragon will now launch today, Sunday, December 6, at 08:17 a.m. ET. Docking with the ISS is scheduled for Monday, December 7.

SpaceX will launch its newly upgraded Cargo Dragon spacecraft on its 21st resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) today, meaning the ISS will soon have double dragons docked: Both the uncrewed Cargo Dragon supply craft and the Crew Dragon capsule which recently carried astronauts to the station on its first operational mission.

We’ve got all the details on how you can watch the launch live as it happens.

What to expect from the Cargo Dragon launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the upgraded Cargo Dragon spacecraft atop, stands ready for liftoff
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the upgraded Cargo Dragon spacecraft atop, stands ready for liftoff NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida after being raised to a vertical position on Dec. 2, 2020, ahead of the company’s 21st Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-21) launch. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 is scheduled for 11:39 a.m. on Saturday, December 5. SpaceX

This new version of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft can carry 20% more cargo volume than previous versions and also has twice as much storage space for powered lockers, so it will be stuffed full of scientific experiments as well as supplies for the crew on board the ISS. It can also stay at the ISS for longer than previous versions as well, which makes coordinating resupply missions more convenient.

The Cargo Dragon will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 11:39 a.m. ET (8:39 a.m. PT) on Saturday, December 5, from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. If there are any delays due to weather, there is a second launch opportunity tomorrow, around the same time on Sunday, December 6.

Assuming the weather continues to cooperate and the launch goes ahead as planned today, the spacecraft will travel to the ISS over the weekend and is scheduled to dock with the station on Sunday, December 6.

After the launch, the first stage booster used by the Falcon 9 rocket will return to Earth where it should be caught by the SpaceX droneship “Of Course I Still Love You,” which will be standing by in the Atlantic Ocean.

How to watch the Cargo Dragon launch

The launch will be streamed both by SpaceX and on NASA TV, so you can watch either on SpaceX’s website, on NASA’s website, or using the video embedded at the top of this page. Coverage of the launch will begin at around 11:15 a.m. ET (8:15 a.m. PT).

If you want to keep an eye on the Cargo Dragon all weekend, you can tune into NASA TV where coverage of the craft approaching the ISS will be shown from 9:30 a.m. ET (6:30 a.m. PT) on Sunday, December 6. Docking with the ISS is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. PT).

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Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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