Today, I leave to photograph my 4th SpaceX Commercial Resupply launch to the International Space Station.

SpaceX is set to launch their 10th CRS mission to the ISS for NASA this Saturday February 18th, 2017 at 10:01am ET (15:01 UTC). The Dragon (resupply capsule, the small bit at the top) carrying nearly 3 tons of expierments and supplies to the astronauts living aboard the orbital outpost.

This will be SpaceX’s first launch from the storied Launch Complex 39A in Florida. This is the same pad that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins first launched to the Moon and many Shuttle launches that built the ISS left Earth from…

and I have the opportunity to photograph this historic launch.

I will be representing Ars Technica as a photographer on-site in Cape Canaveral.

A fun fact: Dragon will be carrying mice again, similar to the 40 “mousetronauts” that were taken up on CRS-4 to the ISS for research.

From Alex Knappa science and technology reporter at Forbes:

“The mice are part of a series of experiments that NASA is conducting to understand the effect that microgravity has on the human body by extrapolating its effect on mice. This effort is to assist mission planners for NASA’s planned manned exploration of Mars and other parts of the solar system. While astronauts on the Space Station spend up to six months in microgravity, these other missions could last two years or more.

Since mice usually only live for about two years, six months of living on the International Space Station is a quarter of a mouse’s life span. By examining how weightlessness affects the mice, researchers can extrapolate those effects to years of a human lifespan.”

This launch will be a mid-late morning launch, with similar lighting to CRS-7. I can’t wait. Here are 3 favorites I took at the CRS-7 launch.

Falcon 9 clears the tower, from the VAB roof:


Slight detail in the rocket exhaust as it exits the engines:

Umbilicals away.

These cables keep Falcon topped off with fuel and Dragon powered until just before launch.


I can’t wait to see and share what I’m able to capture on this trip.

See you tomorrow for another photo story!

“It’s better to make mistakes trying something new, than not try anything at all” – Alexandra Friedman

I saw this quote on Forbes today reading about the mice sent up on CRS-4, and thought you may enjoy hearing it.