SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft – carrying several thousand pounds of critical science, hardware, and crew supplies – is on its way to the International Space Station following a successful launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at 8:30 p.m. EDT, beginning SpaceX’s 27th resupply services mission to the orbiting laboratory.
Dragon is now safely in orbit. A series of thruster firings will help Dragon reach the space station about 36 hours later. Upon its arrival, it will autonomously dock to the station’s Harmony module, with NASA astronaut Woody Hoburg monitoring operations. Live coverage of Dragon’s arrival will air on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 6:15 a.m. Thursday, March 16. Docking is scheduled for approximately 7:52 a.m.
In addition to delivering station supplies, fresh food, and hardware, Dragon also will deliver multiple science and research investigations, including the final two experiments of the National Institutes for Health and International Space Station National Laboratory’s Tissue Chips in Space initiative. Both experiments – the Cardinal Heart 2.0 and Engineered Heart Tissues-2 – use small devices containing living cells that mimic functions of heart tissues and organs to understand the role of microgravity on human health and use this information to improve health on Earth.
Dragon will spend about a month attached to the space station before autonomously undocking and returning to Earth with research and return cargo, splashing down in the off the coast of Florida.
Hello from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida! A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Dragon spacecraft atop, stands ready for liftoff at historic Launch Complex 39A. Tonight’s launch is SpaceX’s 27th commercial resupply services mission for NASA, delivering more than 6,000 pounds of supplies, equipment, and research to the crew aboard the International Space Station. NASA is providing live coverage of the launch – watch now on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
Liftoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EDT, just 30 minutes away, and weather is looking great at 90% “go” for launch. Tonight’s launch is a coordinated effort, with launch controllers here in Florida working closely with teams at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and SpaceX’s control center in Hawthorne, California.
Fueling of the Falcon 9 began approximately 20 minutes ago, with liquid oxygen flowing into the rocket’s first stage. In the next few minutes, fueling of the second stage will begin.
Here’s a full look at tonight’s countdown and ascent milestones. All times (EDT) are approximate:
– 00:38:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
– 00:35:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading begins
– 00:35:00 1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins
– 00:16:00 2nd stage LOX loading begins
– 00:07:00 Falcon 9 begins prelaunch engine chill
– 00:05:00 Dragon transitions to internal power
– 00:01:00 Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
– 00:01:00 Propellant tanks pressurize for flight
– 00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
– 00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
– 00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff
LAUNCH, LANDING, AND DRAGON DEPLOYMENT Hr/Min/Sec Event
00:01:12 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:24 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:28 1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:35 2nd stage engine starts
00:05:44 1st stage entry burn begins
00:07:36 1st stage landing
00:08:38 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO)
00:11:34 Dragon separates from 2nd stage
00:12:22 Dragon nosecone open sequence begins
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Dragon spacecraft atop, stands ready for liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous launch is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EDT today, March 14, and meteorologists with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron are now predicting an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions for liftoff.
Dragon is packed with more than 6,200 pounds of science, equipment, and supplies bound for the International Space Station. Also flying on Dragon is the agency’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) 50 mission, which will deliver two CubeSats to low-Earth orbit to conduct science investigations of their own. Read about them here.
Beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, tune in to NASA TV, the NASA app, or the agency’s website for live launch countdown coverage, or follow along right here on the blog as we take you through all of the major milestones leading up to and after liftoff.
NASA and SpaceX are targeting 8:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, March 14, to launch the company’s 27th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff will be from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Launch timing is dependent upon the undocking and return of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5.
On Monday, March 13, tune in to a prelaunch media teleconference at 8 p.m. EDT (or no earlier than one hour after completion of the Launch Readiness Review) with the following participants:
Phil Dempsey, transportation integration manager, International Space Station Program
Dr. Meghan Everett, deputy chief scientist, NASA’s International Space Station Program Research Office
Sarah Walker, director, Dragon Mission Management, SpaceX
Mike McAleenen, launch weather officer, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron
Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website. Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 13, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tuesday, March 14, at 11 a.m. EDT, a science media teleconference will take place with the following participants:
Dr. Meghan Everett, deputy chief scientist, NASA’s International Space Station Program Research Office
Shane Johnson, former HUNCH student and current research assistant at the University of Texas at Austin, who will discuss the HUNCH Ball Clamp Monopod experiment
Dr. Mita Hajime, professor at the Fukuoka Institute of Technology and principal investigator for the Tanpopo-5 experiment
Dr. Ralf Moeller, microbiologist at the German Aerospace Center in Cologne, Germany, and principal investigator of the BIOFILMS study
On NASA’s next Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) mission, a pair of small satellites, called CubeSats, will hitch a ride on SpaceX’s 27th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for NASA.
The ELaNa 50 complement of CubeSats will launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft this March, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, along with additional supplies, equipment, and science investigations to be delivered to the crew aboard the station.
The university-built CubeSats are going to space as part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). Once deployed, the CubeSats will demonstrate technologies to conduct atmospheric experiments and reduce space debris, as well as provide people on Earth the opportunity for an immediate and powerful connection with an object in space.
First Launch for The Natural State
The CSLI program will launch its first CubeSat from Arkansas. Developed at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, ARKSAT-1, is a CubeSat measuring 1U, or unit, (about 4 inches cubed). It will illuminate an LED from orbit and use a ground spectrometer to track and perform atmospheric measurements.
“It might be the first time this instrument technology is purposefully designed to be done with a CubeSat,” said Adam Huang, principal investigator. “It could be developed into future satellite-based systems using cooperative formations of CubeSats.”
ARKSAT-1’s secondary objective sets out to demonstrate a way to help alleviate the problem of space debris with a lightweight Solid State Inflatable Balloon (SSIB) that can be used to deorbit small satellites after a mission ends. When the balloon on ARKSAT-1 inflates, it will greatly increase the ARKSAT-1’s aerodynamic drag, thereby helping the satellite re-enter and disintegrate safely in Earth’s atmosphere. If successful, the SSIB technology could help reduce the amount of time a small satellite remains “space junk” in low-Earth orbit after its mission has ended.
Helping Others See the Light
LightCube, a 1U CubeSat developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Vega Space Systems and Mexico’s CETYS Universidad, features a flash bulb that can be controlled remotely by amateur radio operators on Earth who will be able to activate the satellite to produce a brief flash visible from the ground.
“LightCube provides potential users worldwide with the opportunity to telecommand a spacecraft and observe a tangible and immediate response in the night sky,” said Jaime Sanchez de la Vega, principal investigator. “The team hopes that this process inspires users to learn about space, satellites, and related concepts.”
The flash will appear at a brightness similar to the International Space Station, and several commonly available smartphone and computer apps will show when LightCube is overhead and where to look in the sky to see its flash.
Considering the observational environment, the LightCube team conducted an in-depth assessment to confirm that the brief flashes generated will not have a significant impact on astronomy.
In selecting the CubeSats for ELaNa 50, CSLI continues furthering its goal of providing U.S. educational institutions, nonprofits with an education/outreach component, informal educational institutions (museums and science centers), and NASA centers with access to space at a low cost. Through CSLI, NASA’s Launch Services Program pairs selected CubeSats with launches best suited for each CubeSat’s mission and ready date, taking into consideration the planned orbit and any special constraints the CubeSat’s mission may have.
Young artists, ages 4-12 years old, from all over the world came together to make NASA’s 2023 Commercial Crew Program Children’s Artwork Calendar contest the biggest one yet!
Children from the United States, India, South Korea, and all points in between submitted 2,260 works of art for this year’s contest, which ran from Sept. 2 through Oct. 27. These pint-sized Picassos submitted unique and original artwork featuring NASA themes such as rockets and spacecraft, astronauts, living and working in space, and exploring the solar system.
Entries were judged on originality and theme, with 36 masterpieces selected first, second, and third place winners in their respective age groups and space-themed categories. One first place entrant per theme per age group will be showcased in large format in the calendar, while second place winners per theme per age group will be printed in small form on each month, and third place winners per theme per age group will have their artwork printed on the back of the calendar as a collage. Each winning artist will receive a printed copy of the calendar, and digital copies of the calendar can be downloaded here.
The CCP art contest began in 2015 to celebrate the creativity and vision of the next generation of space explorers. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program works with American companies to build new rockets and spacecraft for launching astronauts into space, to the International Space Station. The spaceships launch from Florida and take astronauts about 250 miles above the surface of Earth to space station to perform experiments that make our lives better and prepare future astronauts for longer missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program thanks all the young artists and families who reached for the stars and made this year’s calendar truly stellar!
NASA, the French space agency Centre National d’ÉtudesSpatiales, and SpaceX now are targeting 3:46 a.m. PST on Friday, Dec. 16, for launch of theSurface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission.
After SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket went vertical on the pad at Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, teams identified moisture in two Merlin engines on the rocket’s first stage booster. Teams completed inspections of the rocket’s engines today, but will use the additional time to complete data reviews and analysis before a launch attempt.
The SWOT satellite is healthy, and the weather forecast remains favorable for liftoff on Friday morning. Live launch coverage will begin at 6 a.m. EST (3 a.m. PST) on Friday on NASA Television, YouTube, Twitter, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
Several thousand pounds of important research, crew supplies and hardware are on their way to the crew members aboard the International Space Station following the 2:20 p.m. EST launch of NASA’s SpaceX 26th commercial resupply services mission from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft reached its preliminary orbit and its solar arrays have been deployed. A series of thruster firings are scheduled to allow Dragon to rendezvous with the space station on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 a.m. EST. Live coverage of the docking will begin at 6 a.m. EST at https://www.nasa.gov/live.
NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann will capture the Dragon using the space station’s robotic arm and then install it on the station’s Harmony module. Dragon will spend about one month attached to the space station.
Hello and happy Sunday afternoon from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The weather is looking much better today as NASA and SpaceX makes a second attempt at launching the 26th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Poor weather along the Space Coast forced a scrub of the planned 3:54 p.m. EST launch on Tuesday, Nov. 22, from Kennedy.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft stand ready for liftoff at Launch Complex 39A. Launch is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. EST during an instantaneous opportunity. Dragon’s internal countdown is running and propellant loading is underway. Fueling of the Falcon 9 first stage began at T-35 minutes.
Today’s launch is a cross-country effort. Launch controllers at the Florida spaceport are working in concert with teams at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and SpaceX’s control center in Hawthorne, California. The launch blog originates from the NASA News Center here at Kennedy, a few miles west of the launch complex.
Stay right here for more coverage of today’s launch!