The launch escape system for the Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance, is now armed. From liftoff until they reach orbit – roughly 12 minutes – the crew would be able to escape safely in the unlikely event of an anomaly.
Confirmation was received from Commander Nicole Aunapu Mann that SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance spacecraft is ‘Go’ for launch! Weather looks good and we remain on target for a noon EDT launch today.
In about 50 minutes, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with Endurance atop, will lift off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida for NASA’s Space X Crew-5 mission.
The mission is the fifth crew rotation flight of a Dragon spacecraft, carrying NASA astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann and Josh Cassada, who will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists.
The crew will dock Endurance to the forward port on the Harmony module of the International Space Station about 29 hours after liftoff. Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station at 4:57 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6.
Later this month, the four SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts currently on the space station will enter the Dragon Freedom spacecraft and undock from Harmony’s space-facing port for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Florida. Freedom Commander Kjell Lindgren, Pilot Bob Hines, with Mission Specialists Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti, have been living and working on the orbital lab as Expedition 67 Flight Engineers since April 27.
Crew-5 is scheduled for a long duration stay of up to six months aboard the space station conducting science and maintenance before returning to Earth in the spring of 2023.
The hatch is now closed on the Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance. Liftoff for Nicole Aunapu Mann, Josh Cassada, Koichi Wakata, and Anna Kikina is approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes away (noon EDT).
Coming up soon, technicians will close the hatch to the Dragon, sealing the astronauts inside for their historic journey to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission. About 45 minutes prior to the targeted liftoff, the SpaceX launch director will conduct a poll of NASA and SpaceX mission managers to see if they are ready for launch.
With a successful “Go for launch” decision, the crew access arm will be retracted, the crew will close their visors, the launch escape system will be activated in the event of a contingency, and SpaceX will begin loading propellant into the Falcon 9 rocket for launch.
The Crew-5 flight will carry NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, commander; Josh Cassada, pilot; and Mission Specialists JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. Launch is targeted for noon EDT today from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida.
Follow along here on the blog or tune in to the live broadcast on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Launch configuration communication checks have been executed, with no issues. The seats are being rotated into position for launch.
The seating order inside SpaceX’s Dragon, named Endurance, from left to right is: Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, NASA astronaut Josh Cassada, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata.
Liftoff of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission, is less than 2.5 hours away (noon EDT).
Crew-5 crew members are now boarding the Dragon spacecraft, Endurance. As the crewmates board, their seats are configured in the upright position; later, prior to closure of the spacecraft’s side hatch, the seats will be rotated into a reclined position for flight.
All four crew members signed the inside of the White Room, an area at the end of the crew access arm that provides access to the spacecraft. The term “White Room” dates back to the Gemini program. To honor tradition, the room is still painted white today.
Crew-5 crewmates Nicole Aunapu Mann, Josh Cassada, Koichi Wakata, and Anna Kikina have arrived at Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, where SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, Endurance, is ready for them to climb in for launch. Liftoff is slated for noon EDT.
In the next few minutes, they’ll take the elevator up the pad’s fixed service structure and walk down the air-conditioned crew access arm to the White Room – their final stop before climbing aboard.
The approximate 29-hour journey to the International Space Station sets up a 4:57 p.m. EDT docking at the orbiting laboratory on Thursday, Oct. 6.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 crew members just walked out of the double doors below Kennedy Space Center’s Neil A. Armstrong Building’s Astronaut Crew Quarters and made their way out to the customized Tesla Model X cars that will take them to their spacecraft.
Crew-5 astronauts will conduct new scientific research, including cardiac experiments to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth. Experiments include studies on printing human organs in space, understanding fuel systems operating on the Moon, and better understanding heart disease.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. Heart stem cells could provide a sustainable source of cells to treat heart disease and act as a cell source for drug discovery and safety testing back on Earth. Microgravity may hold the key to increasing stem cell production, improving cell viability, and accelerating the maturation of heart stem cells.
The Project EAGLE investigation will study how spaceflight affects properties of heart muscle cells derived from stem cells in an effort to establish a functional heart tissue model that mimics heart disease and can be used to test new drugs.
As we design space systems such as lunar rovers, life support systems, and fuel tanks to support future exploration missions, it is critical to understand and be able to predict how liquids behave in low-gravity environments. The Liquid Behavior investigation will study how liquids move in a container in simulated lunar gravity to generate data that can be used to improve lunar rover designs.
These are just some of the more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during the Crew-5 mission.
Stay with us as the countdown continues; we’ll keep you updated on the key milestones throughout this important mission. Starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT, there will be a live broadcast on NASA Television and the agency’s website.