NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Launch Readiness Review Complete; Media Teleconference at 6 p.m. EDT

The Launch Readiness Review for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission has concluded at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA and SpaceX key managers have given the “go” for launch on a mission that will return human spaceflight to the International Space Station from U.S. soil on an American rocket and spacecraft as a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, at 4:33 p.m. EDT from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A.

A media teleconference is scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT. Live audio of the Demo-2 mission patchteleconference will be streamed at http://www.nasa.gov/live.

Participants are:

  • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
  • Kirk Shireman, manager, NASA International Space Station Program
  • Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • Norm Knight, deputy director, Flight Operations, NASA Johnson Space Center
  • Mike McAleenan, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron

Demo-2 will be SpaceX’s final test flight to validate its crew transportation system, including the Crew Dragon, Falcon 9, launch pad and operations capabilities. During the mission, the crew and SpaceX mission controllers will verify the performance of the spacecraft’s environmental control system, displays and control system, maneuvering thrusters, autonomous docking capability, and more.

Behnken and Hurley will join the Expedition 63 crew on the station to conduct important research as well as support station operations and maintenance. While docked to the station, the crew will run tests to ensure the Crew Dragon spacecraft is capable on future missions of remaining connected to the station for up to 210 days. The specific duration for this mission will be determined after arrival based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch. Finally, the mission will conclude with the Crew Dragon undocking from the station, deorbiting and returning Behnken and Hurley to Earth with a safe splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

Spacecraft Maneuvers for Chute Deployment

SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test
The in-flight abort test will demonstrate the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s capability to safely separate from the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a failure during launch.

Crew Dragon separated from the Falcon 9 rocket and the spacecraft’s trunk has deployed.

Parachute deploy is expected at about the four-minute mark.

Liftoff! SpaceX’s In-Flight Abort Test Underway

SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.

We have liftoff! A Falcon 9 rocket has blasted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft for NASA and SpaceX’s in-flight abort test.

Crew Dragon separation should occur at 1 minute, 24 seconds, followed by the spacecraft’s trunk deploy less than 40 seconds later.

NASA, SpaceX Look to Hit Multiple Milestones during Critical Test

SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and uncrewed Crew Dragon capsule is scheduled to lift off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida today at 10:30 a.m. EST.

We are now just a few minutes from NASA and SpaceX’s 10:30 a.m. EST in-flight abort test. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket and uncrewed Crew Dragon capsule is scheduled to lift off from Launch Complex 39A. The six-hour test window opened at 8 a.m. EST.

Here are the main milestones, including approximate times after launch:

  • +1 minute, 24 seconds — Crew Dragon separation
  • +2 minutes — Crew Dragon trunk deploy
  • +4 minutes — Drogue/main parachute deploy begins
  • +10 minutes — Crew Dragon splashdown

Follow along here on the blog, or tune in to live coverage of the event on NASA TV and the agency’s website, which started at 10:12 a.m.

A post-test news conference is planned for noon. That also will be broadcast on NASA TV and the agency’s website. Participants include:

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
  • SpaceX representative
  • Victor Glover, astronaut, Commercial Crew Program
  • Mike Hopkins, astronaut, Commercial Crew Program

Next up is liftoff!

An In-Depth Look at Today’s Crucial Demonstration

In-Flight Abort test
A look at the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket on the pad at Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida earlier this morning.

SpaceX will intentionally send abort commands to Crew Dragon at one of the harshest moments in flight — Max Q, or maximum aerodynamic pressure. This will trigger a launch escape to demonstrate the spacecraft’s capability to safely separate from the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a failure during launch.

Once the launch escape sequence begins, Falcon 9’s first stage Merlin engines will shut down and Crew Dragon’s SuperDraco thrusters will begin their firing sequence. The launch vehicle and spacecraft will separate, and Crew Dragon’s SuperDracos will burn to completion.

After Crew Dragon’s SuperDracos shut down, the spacecraft will coast to apogee, the highest point in its arc. Near apogee, Crew Dragon’s trunk will separate, and the smaller Draco thrusters will re-orient the spacecraft for reentry and parachute deploy. Dragon’s drogue and main parachutes will then sequence to provide for a soft landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

Splashdown will occur near SpaceX Dragon recovery teams, about 30-35 kilometers offshore. Following Crew Dragon’s separation, Falcon 9 is expected to aerodynamically break up offshore over the Atlantic Ocean.

As part of the Crew Dragon recovery operation, Air Force Detachment-3 personnel will work with the SpaceX recovery team to observe the spacecraft and practice their initial approach in the open ocean, mimicking an actual rescue operation before the SpaceX team recovers Crew Dragon for return to Cape Canaveral.

NASA, SpaceX Teams Preparing for 10:30 a.m. EST Launch

In-Flight Abort Test launch day
Today’s NASA and SpaceX in-flight abort test launch is set for 10:30 a.m. EST.

Hello, and good morning from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida! Welcome to coverage of this morning’s in-flight abort test.

NASA and SpaceX teams are targeting 10:30 a.m. EST today for the demonstration, which is set to begin in about 25 minutes from Launch Complex 39A. The six-hour launch window ends at 2 p.m. EST. NASA Commercial Crew Program astronauts Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover are present for this critical test.

Follow along on the blog as we track the milestones of today’s final, major test before the astronauts fly aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Also, live coverage of the event can be seen on NASA TV and the agency’s website starting at 10:12 a.m.

The latest weather reports from meteorologists with the 45th Space Wing predict a 60% chance of favorable conditions for launch toward the opening of the window, with a 40% chance toward the end of the window. The primary concerns for launch day are the thick cloud layer and flight through precipitation rules during the launch window.

Crew Dragon Spacecraft, Falcon 9 Rocket Set for In-Flight Abort Test

If-flight abort test Jan. 19, 2020
Today’s in-flight abort test will demonstrate the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s ability to safely escape the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a failure during launch.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket are vertical and set for a 10:30 a.m. EST launch of the company’s In-Flight Abort Test from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The test will demonstrate Crew Dragon’s ability to safely escape the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a failure during launch. The abort test launch window ends at 2 p.m. EST this afternoon.

Launch coverage will begin at 10:10 a.m., followed at noon by a post-test news conference with representatives from NASA and SpaceX. The launch and post-test news conference will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Mission Timeline (all times approximate)

COUNTDOWN 

Hour/Min/Sec        Events

45:00                          SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load

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

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing continue to predict a 60% chance of favorable weather toward the opening of the window with a 40% chance toward the end of the window. The primary concerns for launch day are the thick cloud layer and flight through precipitation rules during the launch window.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Targeted Time for In-Flight Abort Liftoff Pushed Back to 10:30 a.m. EST

In-Flight Abort Test launch day
The targeted time for NASA and SpaceX’s in-flight abort test launch has been moved back to 10:30 a.m. EST

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 10:30 a.m. EST Sunday, Jan. 19, for launch of the company’s In-Flight Abort Test from Launch Complex 39A in Florida, which will demonstrate Crew Dragon’s ability to safely escape the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a failure during launch. The abort test launch window ends at 2 p.m. this afternoon.

The test launch will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Here’s the upcoming mission coverage:

 Sunday, Jan. 19

  • 10:10 a.m. – NASA TV test coverage begins for the 10:30 a.m. liftoff
  • Noon – Post-test news conference at Kennedy, with the following representatives:
    • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
    • SpaceX representative
    • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Victor Glover, astronaut, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Mike Hopkins, astronaut, NASA Commercial Crew Program

The time adjustment for today’s launch attempt, splashdown and recovery of the Crew Dragon spacecraft allows for the best time to perform the abort demonstration based on weather conditions.

The U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing continues to predict a 60% chance of favorable weather for launch toward the opening of the window with a 40% chance toward the end of the window. The primary concerns for launch day are the thick cloud layer and flight through precipitation rules during the launch window.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

In-Flight Abort Test Targeted for 10 a.m. EST Launch

SpaceX In-Flight Abort L-0
NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 10 a.m. EST for launch of the in-flight abort test.

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 10 a.m. EST Sunday, Jan. 19, for launch of the company’s In-Flight Abort Test from Launch Complex 39A in Florida, which will demonstrate Crew Dragon’s ability to safely escape the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a failure during launch. The abort test has a six-hour launch window ending at 2 p.m. this afternoon.

The test launch will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Here’s the upcoming mission coverage:

 Sunday, Jan. 19

  • 9:40 a.m. – NASA TV test coverage begins for the 10 a.m. liftoff
  • 11:30 a.m. – Post-test news conference at Kennedy, with the following representatives:
    • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
    • SpaceX representative
    • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Victor Glover, astronaut, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Mike Hopkins, astronaut, NASA Commercial Crew Program

The time adjustment for today’s launch attempt, splashdown and recovery of the Crew Dragon spacecraft allows for the best time to perform the abort demonstration based on weather conditions.

The U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing continues to predict a 60% chance of favorable weather for launch toward the opening of the window with a 40% chance toward the end of the window. The primary concerns for launch day are the thick cloud layer and flight through precipitation rules during the launch window.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

SpaceX In-Flight Abort: Launch Window Update

SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test illustration
NASA and SpaceX teams are planning to target a launch of Saturday’s in-flight abort test in the last hour of the four-hour window. The test window opens at 8 a.m. EST. Illustration credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX are targeting the launch of the company’s In-Flight Abort Test on Saturday, Jan. 18, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Although the test window opens at 8 a.m. EST, teams are planning to target a launch in the last hour of the four-hour window due to sea state conditions for the splashdown of the Crew Dragon spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean. The test teams will continue to monitor weather and update the launch time accordingly in the morning.

SpaceX will demonstrate Crew Dragon’s ability to safely escape the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a failure during launch.

The test launch will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Here’s the upcoming mission coverage:

 Saturday, Jan. 18

  • TBD a.m. – NASA TV test coverage will begin about 20 mins prior to liftoff
  • TBD a.m. – Post-test news conference at Kennedy, with the following representatives:
    • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
    • SpaceX representative
    • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Victor Glover, astronaut, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Mike Hopkins, astronaut, NASA Commercial Crew Program

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.