2018 has already been incredibly busy for Elon Musk’s SpaceX, but the launch schedule isn’t slowing down yet. On Monday afternoon, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket that has launched before to deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. The supplies will be stored in a Dragon capsule, which makes this the third time that NASA has used one of the company’s Dragon spacecraft to deliver supplies to the ISS.
“Dragon will be filled with about 5,800 pounds of supplies, payloads and vehicle hardware, including critical materials to directly support science and research investigations that will occur onboard the orbiting laboratory,” SpaceX said in a press release detailing the mission and the project timeline of events.
Providing everything goes according to plan (which is frequently not the case), the Falcon 9 rocket will take off at 4:30 PM ET on Monday afternoon. The rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and if anything interferes with the timing, SpaceX will reschedule the launch for 4:08 PM ET tomorrow.
Shortly after the Falcon 9 launches, the Dragon capsule will detach itself and head toward the ISS, where it will be captured by the station’s robotic arm and spend a month in space. SpaceX does not plan to attempt a full recovery of the Falcon 9. Once the Dragon craft leaves the space station, it will spend about five hours traveling back to Earth, at which point “it will conduct its deorbit burn, which lasts up to 10 minutes.” It will then splash down in the Pacific.