Three Minutes Until Liftoff

The strongback support structure has been retracted from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s side. The Crew Dragon spacecraft is transitioning to internal power. When clocks reach one minute until launch, the flight computer will be commanded to run through final prelaunch checks.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2: Launch Minutes Away

Liquid oxygen burns off of the Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Saturday, May 30. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for today’s targeted 3:22 p.m. EDT launch of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 launch from the Florida spaceport. Image credit: NASA TV

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission is minutes away from liftoff at 3:22 p.m. EDT from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The crew’s displays inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft are configured for flight.

“Have an amazing flight and enjoy those views of our beautiful planet,” the SpaceX CORE said to astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley.

The crew answered, “It is absolutely our honor to be part of this huge effort to get the United States back” in the business of human spaceflight.

Here’s a look at the major milestones to come during the climb to space. (Times are shown in “L+time” – minutes and seconds after launch.)

00:00:00     Falcon 9 liftoff
+00:00:58    Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
+00:02:33    1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
+00:02:36    1st and 2nd stages separate
+00:02:44    2nd stage engine starts+00:07:15 1st stage entry burn
+00:08:47    2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
+00:08:52    1st stage entry burn
+00:09:22    1st stage landing
+00:12:00     Crew Dragon separates from 2nd stage
+00:12:46     Dragon nosecone open sequence begins

Less than 20 Minutes Until Launch

Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station remains on schedule for 3:22 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Propellant loading operations continue as expected. Crew members Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken are strapped in and have closed their visors.

RP-1 Fuel, First-Stage Liquid Oxygen Loading in Progress

Liquid oxygen burns off of the Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Saturday, May 30. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for today’s targeted 3:22 p.m. EDT launch of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 launch from the Florida spaceport. Image credit: NASA TV

At Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, valves are open and propellants are beginning to flow into the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Atop the rocket is the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, with two NASA astronauts – Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley – safely strapped inside.

Liftoff on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station remains planned for an instantaneous launch window at 3:22 p.m. EDT.

SpaceX Demo-2 Crew ‘Go’ to Close Visors, Arm Launch Escape System

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon atop, stands poised for launch at historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020, ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission. Weather is a ‘go’ for launch, and liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for 3:22 p.m. EDT. Image credit: NASA TV

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley have been given the “go” to close their visors and arm the Crew Dragon’s launch escape system (LES). The crew access arm has been retracted.

Consisting of a set of eight SuperDraco engines integrated into the spacecraft’s body, the LES is designed to separate the spacecraft from the Falcon 9 rocket and carry the crew away to safety in the unlikely event of an emergency.

The system was tested during January’s uncrewed In-Flight Abort Test to show the Crew Dragon’s capability to safely separate from the Falcon 9 rocket. For that test, SpaceX configured Crew Dragon to trigger a launch escape about a minute and a half after liftoff. All major functions were performed, including separation, engine firings, parachute deployment and landing. Crew Dragon splashed down just off the Florida coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

Weather ‘Go’ at This Time; Propellant Loading Coming Up

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon atop, stands poised for launch at historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020, ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission. Weather is a ‘go’ for launch, and liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for 3:22 p.m. EDT. Image credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Demo-2 crew, astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, were just informed that weather is currently “go,” with an upgraded forecast predicting a 70% chance of good weather at the 3:22 p.m. EDT launch time.

The launch team just verified controllers are “go” to begin loading propellants – liquid oxygen and a refined, rocket-grade kerosene called RP-1 – into the Falcon 9 rocket’s first and second stages.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2: Countdown on Schedule, Eyes on Weather

Clouds move in over Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, May 30, 2020. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to lift off this afternoon, carrying American NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station. Launch is targeted for 3:22 p.m. EDT. The launch window is instantaneous. Image credit: NASA TV

With about an hour and five minutes remaining until today’s 3:22 p.m. EDT liftoff time, SpaceX Demo-2 launch countdown is proceeding according to schedule at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A weather update is coming up; although rain in the launch area has let up, some conditions are still “no go,” including lightning, cumulus clouds and electric fields.

Here’s a look at some of the major milestones still to come. (Times are shown in “L-time” – minutes and seconds prior to launch time.)

-45:00    SpaceX Launch Director verifies “go” for propellant load
-42:00    Crew access arm retracts
-37:00    Dragon launch escape system is armed
-35:00    RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading begins
-35:00    1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins
-16:00    2nd stage LOX loading begins
-07:00    Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
-05:00    Dragon transitions to internal power
-01:00    Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
-01:00    Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
-00:45    SpaceX Launch Director verifies “go” for launch
-00:03    Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
-00:00    Falcon 9 liftoff

Demo-2 Launch a Cross-Country Effort

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen at Launch Complex 39A through the windows of Firing Room Four of Kennedy's Launch Control Center during a dress rehearsal on May 23, 2020, in preparation for the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen at Launch Complex 39A through the windows of Firing Room 4 of Kennedy’s Launch Control Center during a dress rehearsal on May 23, 2020, in preparation for the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Several NASA and SpaceX teams across the country have roles in today’s launch. SpaceX’s launch team is commanding the countdown from Firing Room 4 in Kennedy’s Launch Control Center, then will transfer control to the company’s mission control center in Hawthorne, California. Meanwhile, NASA teams at Kennedy and the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston are monitoring today’s activities.

Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley remains scheduled for 3:22 p.m. EDT – an instantaneous launch opportunity. The crew is already strapped into the spacecraft at Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. The launch team continues to closely monitor the weather, which has a 50-50 chance of cooperating at launch time according to meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station will serve as an end-to-end flight test to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, from launch to docking to splashdown. It is the final flight test for the system to be certified for regular crew flights to the station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Team Continues to Monitor Weather

Clouds move in over Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, May 30, 2020. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to lift off this afternoon, carrying American NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station. Launch is targeted for 3:22 p.m. EDT. The launch window is instantaneous. Photo credit: NASA TV

Weather is “no go” for now, but meteorologists predict there could be a clearing in the rain later in the countdown. The next decision point for the launch team will be prior to propellant loading operations, which will begin at about 2:47 p.m. EDT or about 35 minutes prior to launch.

Where Will the Station Be at Launch Time?

International Space Station in low-Earth orbit
In this image from October 2018, the fully completed station continues its mission to conduct microgravity research and experiments — ranging from human physiology to astronomy aboard humanity’s only orbital laboratory. Photo credit: NASA

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission is targeted to launch today at 3:22 p.m. EDT. At that time, the International Space Station will be flying at an altitude of 259 statute miles over the Atlantic off the coast of North Carolina.

The Demo-2 mission will serve as an end-to-end flight test to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, from launch to docking to splashdown. It is the final flight test for the system to be certified for regular crew flights to the station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.