Image: Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon spacecraft vertical at Launch Complex 39A
NASA provider SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are vertical at Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff of SpaceX's tenth Commercial Resupply Services cargo mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for 10:01 a.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017.
The mission will set a milestone as the first launch from Launch Complex 39A since the space shuttle fleet retired in 2011. It will mark a turning point for Kennedy's transition to a multi-user spaceport geared to support public and private missions, as well as those conducted in partnership with NASA.
Dragon will carry science research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the Expedition 50 and 51 crew members. Research highlights aboard Dragon include the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS), a space-based instrument measuring the amount, rate and energy of lightning as it strikes around the world; the Raven investigation studying a real-time spacecraft navigation system; and the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III instrument measuring stratospheric ozone, aerosols, and other trace gases by locking onto the sun or moon and scanning a thin profile of Earth's atmosphere.