SpaceX will launch Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time, and you can watch the event live online.
The 20th Commercial Resupply Service (NG-20) mission will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, January 30. Scroll down for full details on how to watch.
Cygnus will carry a series of science experiments, food and other essential supplies for the ISS crew.
The spacecraft will remain docked at the station for about six months and its engines can be fired up occasionally to propel the ISS back to its recommended altitude if it moves out of position at any time. It will also continue to fill with rubbish from orbital facilities before being released and burning up when re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
As the name of the mission suggests, this is the 20th time the Cygnus vehicle has gone into space, but it is also the first time it has hitched a ride on a SpaceX rocket. Until now Cygnus has always flown with Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket which uses Russian and Ukrainian parts. Unsurprisingly, the supply chain has been disrupted by the ongoing conflict following Russia’s invasion of its neighboring country, a situation that led to the switch to SpaceX.
The last time Cygnus flew to the ISS using an Antares rocket was in August last year.
This will be the 10th flight of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously launched Crew-5, GPS III Space Vehicle 06, Inmarsat I6-F2, CRS-28, Intelsat G-37, and four Starlink missions.
SpaceX will use a Falcon 9 rocket for the launch of Northrop Grumman’s 20th Commercial Resupply Services (NG-20) mission from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The company plans to launch the Cygnus spacecraft on Tuesday, January 30 at 12:07 ET, with a backup launch opportunity available on Thursday, February 1 at 11:18 ET.
NASA will broadcast live arrival of the Cygnus spacecraft at the ISS, with coverage starting at 02:45 ET on Thursday, February 1.
Live coverage will include the Falcon 9 taking off from the launch pad, with remote cameras tracking the rocket as it hurtles rapidly into orbit. Viewers will also be able to enjoy a flight view of the rocket, which after a few minutes will see the first stage of the rocket separate from the upper stage carrying the spacecraft. On Thursday, NASA will show Cygnus as it approaches the ISS, a process that will culminate with an important docking procedure.
About eight minutes after launch, the first stage will land near the launch site at Kennedy, paving the way for another flight using the same rocket parts.