Watch SpaceX launch a twice-flown Dragon capsule to the ISS live

SpaceX Rocket Launch From Cape Canaveral, Florida On December 4, 2019

NASA is going to be sending something it calls a "robot hotel" to the International Space Station aboard the next commercial resupply mission, which is set to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this week.

The CRS-19 mission has a backup window on Thursday, December 5 at 12:29 PM EST (9:29 AM PST) in case today's launch is not carried out as planned for any reason.

Weather is now 90% "go" for launch, as calculated by the U.S. Air Force with the primary concern being winds during liftoff, according to the 45th Weather Squadron. But the company halted the countdown because of excessive upper-level wind at Cape Canaveral and also out in the Atlantic.

"It's exciting to re-fly the spacecraft that paved the way for Dragon reuse", said Jessica Jensen, director of Dragon Mission Management at SpaceX. "We won't know until tomorrow". The robots use mass spectrometers to "sniff out" gases like ammonia leaking out from the space station.

Mark Neuman, RiTS hardware manager, says: "For each of its stored tools, RiTS will provide heat and physical protection from radiation and micrometeroids, or tiny, high-speed objects hurtling through space". "The Japanese airlock for equipment is very popular, very busy".

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The first robots to grace the RiTS will be two Robotic External Leak Locators (RELL), and they do precisely what their name suggests: find leaks on the outside hull of the ISS. Being able to do this 12 hours at a time from the exterior of the ISS will be extremely useful to the team of astronauts.

Having this housing unit in place will also help the space station's robotic arm, Dextre, easily locate, grab and put back these important tools. Twenty seeds will be sprouted or grown out. Both the Starliner and United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket are healthy, officials said.

This Dragon Capsule previously launched the CRS-4 and 12 missions to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

In January, the capsule is scheduled to re-enter Earth's atmosphere and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California with 3,600 pounds of return cargo.

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