UPDATE: SpaceX has scrubbed today’s launch due to a storm system passing over the launch range. The next window is tomorrow, but as of right now, similar weather conditions are predicted so it’s possible it could be further delayed.
SpaceX is currently set to launch its eighteenth commercial resupply mission (CRS-18) for the International Space Station at 6:24 PM ET (3:24 PM PT) on Wednesday, from LC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission will carry equipment for experiments and scientific research, as well as supplies for ISS astronauts, and a new docking adapter that will automate the docking process for any future crew spacecraft built to take advantage during their visits to the ISS.
Live coverage will begin via the stream above at around 15 minutes prior to the target launch time, provided all goes to plan. The standard pre-launch weather assessment isn’t looking especially good however — the USAF 5th Space Wing, which is responsible for calling the weather conditions, said that there was a 30% chance of favorable weather, as of earlier this week. Should the launch be scrubbed for today, there’s a backup window on Thursday, July 25 at 6:01 PM ET (3:01 PM PT).
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule used for this mission is badged with an “Apollo 50th” commemorative graphic near the side-hatch on the spacecraft, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing mission. That anniversary actually ends today as well, with the returned astronauts splashing down in the Pacific Ocean in the Columbia command capsule on July 24, 1969.
While the delivery of the new automated docking module is a big highlight for this mission from the perspective of the overall space program, there’s another big milestone for SpaceX — the Falcon 9 first stage used in this mission will attempt to land back at LZ-1 at Cape Canaveral, and both it and the Dragon capsule used on this mission have flown previously.