SpaceX, NASA gear up for space station resupply launch

SpaceX is gearing up to launch the 19th resupply mission to the International Space Station on Wednesday.

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The Falcon 9 rocket is set to blast off just before 1 p.m. ET from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying a Dragon capsule filled with “cutting-edge scientific experiments.”

Experiments being transported to the ISS include the study of malting barley in microgravity, the spread of fire, and bone and muscle loss, which NASA said: "provides opportunities for research by government agencies, private industry, and academic and research institutions."

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SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk in 2002, manufacturers and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft with the goal of "enabling people to live on other planets," the company's website explains. In 2010, it became the only private company that was able to return a spacecraft from low Earth orbit, an Earth-centered orbit with an altitude of 2,000 km or less.

In 2012, the Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station, SpaceX said.

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During Wednesday's mission, the Dragon capsule will separate from the rocket nine minutes after liftoff, according to SpaceX, which projects that it will attach to the space station on Dec. 7. Following the launch, SpaceX hopes to recover the Falcon 9 to reuse for future missions.

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The mission comes just after SpaceX launched 60 mini-satellites into space, the second batch of an orbiting network meant to provide global Internet coverage.

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Musk wants to put thousands of these Starlink satellites in orbit, to offer high-speed Internet service everywhere. He plans to start service next year in the northern U.S. and Canada, with global coverage for populated areas after 24 launches.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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