First Stage Sticks the Landing!

The first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully lands on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean following launch of the agency's SpaceX Crew-3 mission.
The first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lands on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean following launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo credit: NASA

The first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has successfully landed on a droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The rocket used for today’s mission previously flew on SpaceX’s 22nd commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station in June 2021.

Next up, Crew Dragon will separate from the rocket’s second stage to continue its journey to the International Space Station.

Falcon 9 Second Stage Engine Shuts Down

Shutdown of the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage engines occurs right on time, and Crew Dragon is now in orbit. In just a moment, the rocket’s first stage will attempt to land on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Crew-3 Confirms Trajectory is Nominal

The call came in from Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari that trajectory is nominal, and the first stage has started its descent. The Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage will continue to burn for the next few minutes before intentionally shutting down.

Main Engine Cutoff; Falcon 9’s First Stage Separates

The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage has reached main engine cutoff, known as MECO, and the first and second stages have separated. As the second stage continues carrying Crew Dragon on its flight, the rocket’s first stage will attempt a targeted landing on a droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

LIFTOFF! Crew-3 Astronauts Begin Their Journey to the Space Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon lifts off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 10, 2021.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon lifts off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo credit: NASA

We have liftoff! At 9:03 p.m. EST, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft lit up the night sky at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, sending Crew-3 astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer on the start of a 22-hour journey to the International Space Station.

Coming up in just one minute, the rocket will pass through Max Q – the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket. Following this, the Falcon 9’s first and second stages will separate.

Crew-3 Remains on Schedule, Launch Less Than 15 Minutes Away

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A on Nov. 10, 2021, ahead of the Crew-3 launch.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon atop is seen at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Nov. 10, 2021, ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 launch. Photo credit: NASA

The second stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is being loaded with liquid oxygen, and everything remains on track for a targeted 9:03 p.m. EST liftoff. Inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft are NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer. This will be the third spaceflight for Marshburn and the first for Chari, Barron, and Maurer.

Falcon 9 Fueling Underway

The launch abort system for the Crew Dragon spacecraft has been armed, and fueling of the Falcon 9 rocket is underway. We’re now T-35 minutes from launch, and the rocket is being loaded with RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene). The rocket’s first stage also is being fueled with liquid oxygen, and a few minutes from now, fueling will begin for the second stage.

Weather officials with the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron now predict a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for tonight’s launch. Liftoff is targeted for 9:03 p.m. EST.

Crew Access Arm Retracts

The crew access arm swings away from SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft on Nov. 10, 2021, ahead of the agency's SpaceX Crew-3 launch.
The crew access arm swings away from SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft on Nov. 10, 2021, ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 launch. Photo credit: NASA

The crew access arm has retracted, and in just a few minutes, Crew Dragon Endurance’s launch escape system will be armed. This will allow the Crew-3 astronauts to escape safely in the unlikely event of an anomaly from the moment the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off until the time they reach orbit – a timespan of roughly 12 minutes.

Liftoff of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Mission About an Hour Away

Liftoff of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying Crew-3 astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer, is now just a little under an hour away. The mission director has given the “go” for propellant loading, and about 10 minutes from now, the crew access arm will swing away from the spacecraft as launch preparations continue.

Stay with us here on the blog as countdown coverage continues, or watch live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. More details about this mission and the Commercial Crew Program can be found in the online press kit, or by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew, and commercial crew on Facebook.