February 3, 2023

Photos: SpaceX rolls out rocket for next station resupply flight

SpaceX’s next Falcon 9 rocket rolled out of its hangar and up the ramp to Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A Sunday in preparation for liftoff on a two-day trek ferrying more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

Workers at the launch pad spent Sunday afternoon installing last-minute cargo into the pressurized cabin of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft mounted to the end of the rocket. The “late load” items included a habitat with 20 research mice, and a host of biological experiments, freezers and fresh food.

Liftoff is set for 12:31 p.m. EDT (1631 GMT) Monday, with arrival at the space station scheduled for Wednesday.

The robotic resupply run will mark the 39th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket, and the 11th SpaceX launch this year. SpaceX intends to recover the rocket’s first stage with a propulsive vertical landing at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station a few minutes after liftoff, aiming to land a rocket intact for the 14th time.

The Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket flying Monday are newly-manufactured, except for the landing legs at the base of the first stage, which were previously flown.

Credit: SpaceX
Credit: Tim Dodd / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Tim Dodd / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Tim Dodd / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Tim Dodd / Spaceflight Now

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