SpaceX might have some seriously grand plans for the near future of its rocket program, but until the “world’s most powerful rocket” is ready to head skyward, it’s business as usual at the commercial spaceflight firm. Today, SpaceX will launch its Dragon cargo spacecraft on an unmanned supply run to the International Space Station, and you can watch the launch and recovery live right here, thanks to SpaceX’s always fantastic live stream.
The launch is scheduled to take place at 12:31 pm ET, and the SpaceX craft will be taking off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Once the first stage of the rocket separates, it will head back to Earth where, if everything goes according to plan, it will land upright and be recovered and refurbished for continued use.
One of the things that makes today’s launch particularly special is that it will be the last time NASA sends a brand new Dragon cargo craft to the ISS. From now on, the company plans on only sending its “flight proven” hardware on those missions. SpaceX still has more resupply launches left in its contract with NASA, which was extended from 12 flights to 20 after the partnership proved successful.
Today’s mission will provide some 6,400 pounds of supplies including scientific hardware to the crew of the ISS. The vast majority of the gear being delivered is needed for experiments and research being conducted on the craft, but the astronauts will also be getting a bit of ice cream to make their stay in space a tiny bit more enjoyable.