After being delayed earlier in the week due to inclement weather, NASA and SpaceX launched the final Dragon capsule mission of the year from Kennedy Space Center on Saturday.
It was SpaceX’s 26th contracted International Space Station resupply mission (CRS-26) for NASA and the 52nd overall launch from Florida’s Space Coast this year, taking off from pad 39A at 2:20 p.m. EST. NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services, or CRS, contract is flown by SpaceX.
The Dragon capsule holds approximately 7,700 pounds of supplies, cargo, and scientific experiments. A pair of ISS roll-out solar arrays will also be aboard to help power the orbiting laboratory.
The Falcon 9 booster somersaulted shortly after launch, returning to land aboard a SpaceX drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. It will be towed back to Florida and returned to Port Canaveral in the coming days. It will be collected by SpaceX for refurbishment and reuse on a future flight.
The CRS-26 mission is the final flight of SpaceX’s brand-new cargo Dragon vehicle. All ISS cargo missions from now on will be carried out by one of three capsules that have previously visited the orbiting laboratory.
The CRS-26 Dragon was scheduled to dock with the space station autonomously around 7:30 a.m. EST on Sunday, Nov. 27. It will spend the next 45 days docked at the station before returning to one of seven sites off the coast of Florida for splashdown.
The next Falcon 9 launch from Florida is scheduled for 3:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 30, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s pad 40. The HAKUTO-R M1 moon lander will be launched by SpaceX for ispace, a Japanese lunar exploration company.