SpaceX launched its 14th Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-14) to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday. Launching from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, the previously flown Dragon spacecraft is headed for the ISS to deliver supplies and new materials.
“Dragon is on its way to the International Space Station,” SpaceX tweeted Monday, shortly after its 4:30 PM Eastern launch time. It’s expected to dock at the space station early Wednesday. The Dragon, a reused spacecraft, had “previously supported the CRS-8 mission in April 2016,” SpaceX said on its website. SpaceX noted that it didn’t attempt to recover the Falcon 9’s first stage following the launch.
The latest mission is using two major pieces of equipment that have already been tested in space. The booster on the Falcon 9 rocket was used to launch SpaceX’s CRS-12 mission last August. The SpaceX Dragon capsule was part of the company’s CRS-8 mission back in April 2016, but received refurbishment before taking part in this mission.
Dragon will be delivering 5,800 pounds of supplies to ISS, most of which are payloads and vehicle hardware. While ISS is known to request everything from fanny packs to UNIQLO shirts, this mission will directly support some of the ongoing research in the orbiting laboratory.
The mission will conclude after a one-month stay onboard the ISS. Dragon is then scheduled to return to Earth with 3,900 pounds of cargo. The journey is expected to be relatively brief: Five hours after Dragon leaves ISS, it will begin its deorbit burn, lasting about 10 minutes. From there, it only takes about 30 minutes for Dragon to enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
“This is the second resupply mission for NASA where we’re not only flying a flight-proven booster but we’re also flying a Dragon that has already been to the International Space Station,” Jessica Jensen, director of Dragon mission management for SpaceX, said Sunday.