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The last Dragon capsule mission of the year finally launched from Kennedy Space Center on Saturday after poor weather forced NASA and SpaceX to delay the mission earlier in the week.
Flying from pad 39A at 2:20 p.m. EST, it marked 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. SpaceX flies the missions under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services, or CRS, contract.
The Dragon capsule is packed with about 7,700 pounds of supplies, cargo, and science experiments. Also aboard is a pair of ISS roll-out solar arrays that will help provide more power to the orbiting laboratory.
Shortly after launch, the Falcon 9 booster somersaulted for a return trip to land aboard a SpaceX drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. It will be towed back to Florida over the coming days for return to Port Canaveral. SpaceX will collect it for refurbishment and reuse on a future flight.
The CRS-26 mission marks the final flight of a brand-new SpaceX cargo Dragon vehicle. From here on, all ISS cargo missions will be carried out by one of three capsules to have previously visited the orbiting laboratory.
The CRS-26 Dragon was scheduled for an autonomous docking with the space station around 7:30 a.m. EST on Sunday, Nov. 27. It will spend the next 45 days docked at the station before returning for splashdown in one of seven sites off the coast of Florida.
The next Falcon 9 to fly from Florida is slated to launch around 3:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 30, from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. That SpaceX mission will launch the HAKUTO-R M1 moon lander for ispace, a Japanese lunar exploration company.
For the latest, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
Jamie Groh is a space reporter for Florida Today. You can contact her at JGroh@floridatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AlteredJamie.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Saturday's SpaceX Falcon 9 launch sent a Dragon to the space station