NASA, SpaceX Targeting Dec. 5 for Launch of 21st Commercial Resupply Services to Space Station
By NASA // November 26, 2020
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BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 11:39 a.m. EST Saturday, Dec. 5, for the launch of its 21st commercial resupply services (CRS-21) mission to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
CRS-21 will deliver science investigations, supplies, and equipment for NASA and is the first mission under the company’s second Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.
Live coverage will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, with prelaunch events Friday, Dec. 4, and Saturday, Dec. 5.
The upgraded Dragon spacecraft will be filled with supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 64 and 65.
In addition to bringing research to the station, the Dragon’s unpressurized trunk will transport the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock.
The first commercially funded space station airlock, the Bishop Airlock is an airtight segment used for the transfer of payloads between the inside and outside of the station.
It provides payload hosting, robotics testing, and satellite deployment while also serving as an outside toolbox for astronauts conducting spacewalks.
About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon will separate from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station.
Arrival at the space station is planned for Sunday, Dec. 6. Dragon will autonomously dock to the station’s Harmony module with Expedition 64 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Victor Glover of NASA monitoring operations.
The Dragon spacecraft will spend about one month attached to the space station before it returns to Earth with research and returns cargo, with a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.