Updates: SpaceX launches CRS-29 NASA resupply mission to International Space Station

Updates: Following is live coverage of the 8:28 p.m. EDT Thursday liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule on NASA's CRS-29 resupply mission to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Welcome to tonight's FLORIDA TODAY's Space Team live coverage of NASA's 29th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.

SpaceX is targeting 8:28 p.m. EDT to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. An uncrewed Dragon capsule will deliver more than 6,500 pounds of crew supplies, equipment and science experiments into low-Earth orbit to the ISS.

This CRS-29 mission will also carry a small science experiment created by the self-nicknamed "Bacteria Boys" of Pinecrest Academy Space Coast in Viera. This team of five eighth graders is sending horseshoe crab blood to the ISS to study whether it can detect E. coli bacteria in microgravity.

Teams with NASA and SpaceX completed the launch readiness review — the final major review before launch — on Wednesday afternoon.

Countdown Timer

SpaceX Falcon 9 booster lands

Update 8:36 p.m. EDT: The Falcon 9 first-stage booster just landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, wrapping up its second flight.

Liftoff!

Update 8:28 p.m. EDT: SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center on NASA's 29th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.

After stage separation, the first-stage booster should land at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in 7 minutes, 36 seconds — listen for sonic booms!

NASA's SpaceX Falcon 9 launch coming up

Update 8:18 p.m. EDT: Ten minutes before SpaceX's scheduled 8:28 p.m. EDT Falcon 9 launch, the countdown appears to be proceeding as planned. Fueling is well underway at pad 39A.

A list of key SpaceX countdown milestones. T-minus:

  • 7 minutes: Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch.

  • 5 minutes: Dragon capsule transitions to internal power.

  • 1 minute: Command flight computer begins final prelaunch checks; propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins.

  • 45 seconds: SpaceX launch director verifies “go” for launch.

  • 3 seconds: Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start.

  • 0 seconds: Falcon 9 liftoff.

NASA launch has 100% 'go' weather

Update 8:07 p.m. EDT: In a rarity, the Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron now calls for 100% favorable conditions for the upcoming 8:28 p.m. EDT launch.

The squadron's original forecast, which was issued Wednesday, pegged those odds at 95%.

SpaceX Falcon 9 fueling is now underway

Update 7:57 p.m. EDT: Visual cues indicate Falcon 9 fueling procedures are now underway at pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, though neither SpaceX nor NASA has made an official announcement.

Dragon capsule carrying 'Bacteria Boys' experiment

Update 7:34 p.m. EDT: Packed inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule is a science experiment using horseshoe crab blood that was devised by the "Bacteria Boys" of Pinecrest Academy Space Coast in Viera.

The eighth graders on the team are Evan Ireland, Connor Santore, Eric DiStasi, Liam Hauser and Luke Costa. The Bacteria Boys were among 12,859 students who submitted proposals via the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

SSEP judges received 2,261 proposals, narrowed the field to 112 finalists, and eventually chose 39 experiments, the ISS National Laboratory reported.

SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule facts

Update 7:15 p.m. EDT: The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is loaded with 6,505 pounds of cargo en route to the ISS. That sum includes science investigations (2,231 pounds), crew supplies (1,501 pounds), vehicle hardware (1,082 pounds), spacewalk equipment (106 pounds) and computer resources (101 pounds), NASA reported.

After a roughly 32-hour flight, the Dragon cargo spacecraft will arrive at the orbiting outpost and autonomously dock about 5:20 a.m. EDT Saturday, SpaceX reported.

SpaceX: Listen for sonic booms

Update 6:59 p.m. EDT: SpaceX officials have announced the Falcon 9 rocket's first-stage booster should land at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station about eight minutes after the 8:28 p.m. EDT liftoff.

"There is the possibility that residents of Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Indian River, Seminole, Volusia, Polk, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee County counties may hear one or more sonic booms during the landing, but what residents experience will depend on weather and other conditions," SpaceX media relations personnel said via email.

Space Force: 95% odds of 'go' weather

The Space Force 45th Weather Squadron has issued a highly favorable forecast with a 95% chance of favorable launch conditions.

Scattered cumulus and altostratus clouds should dot the sky above Cape Canaveral, with a temperature of 71.

"High resolution model guidance indicates some coastal showers may be rounding the warm waters of the Gulf Stream Thursday evening, but activity should stay low-topped and far enough away to be of any (lightning) concern," the squadron's forecast said.

"With the altostratus deck expected to be thinner and higher in the atmosphere, thick clouds are no longer a concern for the initial launch window. The weather continues to trend very favorably for an initial launch attempt," the forecast said.

NASA and SpaceX launched the CRS-28 resupply mission to the orbiting space station in June from the Cape.

SpaceX Dragon capsule to fly science to ISS

A SpaceX cargo Dragon capsule stands atop a Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center prior to launch in June to the International Space Station.
A SpaceX cargo Dragon capsule stands atop a Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center prior to launch in June to the International Space Station.

This ISS resupply mission's cargo will include NASA’s Integrated Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Low Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal, or ILLUMA-T.

After this laser terminal is mounted on the ISS exterior, this device should relay data from the space station to Earth 10 to 100 times faster than today's radio-frequency communications systems, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports. The payload measures about the size of a refrigerator.

During an Oct. 26 NASA teleconference, Meg Everett, deputy program scientist for the ISS Program at Johnson Space Center, sketched a brief overview of microgravity research that will launch aboard the Dragon spacecraft. Key experiments will study:

⬤ Reproductive health in female mice.

“We will look at the function of the ovaries during flight and after flight. And we will look at some of the hormone receptors and some hormone signaling that will give us indication of the effects of microgravity on reproductive function," Everett said.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon cargo spacecraft stands atop pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on June 2 ahead of launch to the International Space Station on NASA's CRS-28 resupply mission.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon cargo spacecraft stands atop pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on June 2 ahead of launch to the International Space Station on NASA's CRS-28 resupply mission.

More: See how SpaceX's Starlink is driving record rocket launches on Florida's Space Coast

⬤ Aquamembrane-3, a water filtration system using aquaporin proteins.

“These proteins are found in every living cell membrane naturally. And they're naturally really good and strong water filters," Everett said.

"So if we are able to use this naturally occurring protein to improve our water filtration systems, both in space or even here on Earth — in remote environments or highly polluted streams, and areas like that — we can really improve our water filtration systems, reduce wastewater volumes, and also improve our recycling capabilities," she said.

⬤ Gaucho Lung, which simulates treatments for respiratory distress syndromes using gel-coated tubes filled with fluids.

“We're hoping that being able to do this work in this new microgravity environment will provide better information on how we can deliver drugs to these different disease populations and really benefit health here on Earth," Everett said.

For the latest schedule updates at the Cape, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.

Rick Neale is a Space Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY (for more of his stories, click here.) Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or rneale@floridatoday.com. Twitter/X: @RickNeale1

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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX launch: Live updates from NASA CRS-29 resupply launch to ISS