NASA and SpaceX are targeting 8:44 p.m., EDT, Thursday, July 14th, to launch the agency’s next investigation to monitor climate change to the International Space Station. The mission — NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) — will fly aboard SpaceX’s 25th commercial resupply services mission to the orbital laboratory.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to deliver new science investigations, supplies, and equipment for the international crew, including a new climate research investigation.
Dragon will carry more than 5,800 pounds of cargo, including a variety of NASA investigations such as EMIT, which will identify the composition of mineral dust from Earth’s arid regions and analyze dust carried through the atmosphere from deserts to see what effects it has on the planet, further advancing NASA’s data contributions to monitoring climate change.
Other investigations include studying the aging of immune cells and the potential to reverse those effects during postflight recovery, a cubesat that will monitor cloud top and ocean surface temperatures which could help scientists understand Earth’s climate and weather systems, and a student experiment testing a concrete alternative for potential use in future lunar and Martian habitats.
Arrival to ISS is scheduled for approximately 11:20 a.m. EDT on Saturday, July 16th. Dragon will dock autonomously to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module, with NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines monitoring operations from the station.
The spacecraft is expected to spend about a month attached to the orbiting outpost before returning to Earth with research and return cargo, splashing down off the coast of Florida.