Today's SpaceX launch is special, but not for the reason you think

On the heels of last week's successful Falcon 9 launch that carried 10 Iridium satellites into orbit, SpaceX is ready to take to the skies again today. Assuming the weather cooperates, another Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Cape Canerval today at 4:30 PM Eastern. This time around, the destination is the International Space Station, where it will drop off about 5,800 pounds of supplies to the astronauts currently residing there.

If there is such a thing as normal in the world of spaceflight, these ISS missions are probably it. This is the 14th supply drop SpaceX has shuttled to the International Space Station on NASA's behalf, and there will be six more after it by the time SpaceX's first contract is up. However, today's launch is exciting for a rather unique reason, as ISS astronauts will be getting a new printer.

If you're wondering how a new printer can possibly be exciting, try using the same one for 17 years. That's how long the space station's current printer has been in use, so it's definitely time for an upgrade. No run of the mill printer will do, however, and NASA tapped HP to create one that will work in a zero-gravity environment.

HP, in turn, has created the ENVY ISS, a new printer based on the OfficeJet 5740. HP had to figure out how its printer would handle paper management in zero-gravity, but beyond that, it also had to be constructed with flame-retardant plastics. HP also couldn't use any glass in its construction and it had to figure out how a printer meant for space would handle printing in multiple orientations.

HP says that meeting NASA's zero-G requirements was the hardest part of creating this printer, which comes as little surprise. ISS scientists will put this new machine to good use, as they go through about two reams of paper per month, printing off everything from emergency e-books to personal items, such as letters and photos from their families and friends back home.

As for the launch itself, SpaceX says that the Dragon capsule going up into orbit today won't return home for another month or so. When it does return, it'll be holding 3,900 pounds of cargo from ISS. Both the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon capsule launching today are flight tested, meaning they've been used in previous launches, which makes today's launch all the more special. You can watch today's launch via the livestream that's embedded above.