SpaceX Dragon Ventures to Space Station with NASA Science, Cargo

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft lift off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A for the company's 25th resupply services mission to the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon capsule soars upward after lifting off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 14, 2022, on the company’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission for the agency to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 8:44 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft – carrying more than 5,800 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 8:44 p.m. EDT, beginning SpaceX’s 25th resupply services mission to the orbiting laboratory.

Dragon is now safely in orbit with its solar arrays deployed and drawing power for the nearly two-day trip to the space station.

“We’re excited to continue to help transport this kind of cargo for NASA and also to carry the crew members who are the key component for doing research and managing things on station,” said Benjamin Reed, senior director of Human Spaceflight Programs at SpaceX. “All of this, of course, is not possible without our partnerships with NASA, with the Space Force, and all of our customers. We can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to be a part of this and be a part of this great science community.”

The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) mission instrument (right) sits in the "trunk" that will travel aboard SpaceX's 25th cargo resupply mission – planned for June 7, 2022 – to the International Space Station.
The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) mission instrument (right) sits in the “trunk” that will travel aboard SpaceX’s 25th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. This image was taken May 3, 2022, at SpaceX’s Dragonland facility in Florida. Photo credit: SpaceX

The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Saturday, July 16. Upon its arrival, Dragon will autonomously dock to the station’s Harmony module while NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines monitor operations. Live coverage of Dragon’s arrival will air on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website  beginning at 10 a.m. EDT. Docking is scheduled for approximately 11:20 a.m.

In addition to delivering station supplies and hardware, Dragon also will deliver multiple science and research investigations. One of those is the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT). Developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, EMIT will use imaging spectroscopy technology to measure the mineral composition of dust in Earth’s arid regions to better understand what effects it has on the planet.

The spacecraft also will deliver five CubeSats, or small satellites, with varying focuses of study; an investigation using tissue chips to study the aging of immune cells; and an experiment looking at an alternative for concrete using organic material and on-site materials. These are just a few of the more than 250 investigations that will take place during Expedition 67.

“It’s going to be a very busy next few weeks onboard the International Space Station with all the experiments and cargo that Dragon is bringing up,” said Dina Contella, operations integration manager for NASA’s International Space Station Program. “I just really want to congratulate again the SpaceX and NASA teams on another great launch, and I’m looking forward to the Dragon docking on Saturday.”

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 Atlantic Ocean.

To stay updated on all station activities, follow @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts. Or follow along the station blog at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/.

Live Countdown Coverage Begins for SpaceX’s 25th Cargo Resupply Launch

SpaceX's cargo Dragon spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A.
Seen here is a close view of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket after being raised to a vertical position at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 12, 2022, in preparation for the 25th commercial resupply services launch to the International Space Station. Photo credit: SpaceX

Hello from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida! A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the cargo Dragon spacecraft atop, stands ready for liftoff at Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. Live countdown coverage has begun – watch now on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Liftoff is just a little under 30 minutes away, at 8:44 p.m. EDT. This is the 25th commercial resupply services (CRS-25) mission for SpaceX, delivering more than 5,800 pounds of science experiments and research, hardware, and crew supplies to the International Space Station.

About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon will separate from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, beginning a series of carefully choreographed thruster firings to reach the space station two days later.

Here’s a look at some of tonight’s countdown and ascent milestones. All times are approximate.

COUNTDOWN 

Hr/Min/Sec        Event
– 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 pre-launch 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
00:01:18               Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:30               1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:34               1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:41               2nd stage engine starts
00:06:37               1st stage entry burn begins
00:08:38               2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO)
00:08:38               1st stage landing
00:11:49               Dragon separates from 2nd stage
00:12:35               Dragon nosecone open sequence begins

 

Launch Day Arrives for SpaceX’s 25th Resupply Services Mission

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft and Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A ahead of the company's 25th commercial resupply services launch.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft atop, is raised to a vertical position at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on July 12, 2022, in preparation for the 25th commercial resupply services launch to the International Space Station. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 8:44 p.m. EDT today, July 14, for SpaceX’s 25th commercial resupply (CRS-25) launch to the International Space Station. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron continue to predict a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions for today’s launch, with the primary concerns revolving around the cumulus cloud rule and flight through precipitation.

Dragon will carry more than 5,800 pounds of cargo, including a variety of NASA investigations such as NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT), which will identify the composition of mineral dust from Earth’s arid regions and analyze dust carried through the atmosphere from deserts to see what effects it has on the planet, further advancing NASA’s data contributions to monitoring climate change.

Other investigations include studying the aging of immune cells and the potential to reverse those effects during postflight recovery, a CubeSat that will monitor cloud top and ocean surface temperatures which could help scientists understand Earth’s climate and weather systems, and a student experiment testing a concrete alternative for potential use in future lunar and Martian habitats.

Beginning at 8:15 p.m. EDT, join us on the CRS-25 mission blog for live coverage, and follow along on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website for the live launch broadcast.

NASA’s BioExpt-1 Braced for Deep Space

NASA Project Manager Dinah Dimapilis is photographed next to one of the container assemblies that will carry the agency's Biology Experiment-1 on the Artemis I mission.
NASA Project Manager Dinah Dimapilis unboxes one of two container assemblies that will be used to carry the agency’s Biology Experiment-1 on the Artemis I mission. Photo credit: NASA

As NASA prepares to return to the Moon through Artemis, teams at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida are working to send much smaller life forms to space to help scientists better understand the effects of space radiation before humans return to the lunar surface.

A number of science experiments, including the agency’s Biology Experiment-1 (BioExpt-1), will be flying on board Artemis I – the mission that will test the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion as an integrated system before sending astronauts to the Moon.

NASA’s Space Biology Program selected four biology experiments to fly as part of BioExpt-1, which involves using plant seeds, fungi, yeast, and algae to study the effects of space radiation before sending humans to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars.

“Each of these four experiments will help us understand a unique aspect of how biological systems can adapt and thrive in deep space,” said Sharmila Bhattacharya, NASA program scientist for space biology. “Gathering information like this and analyzing it after flight will eventually help us paint the full picture of how we can help humans thrive in deep space.”

During Artemis I, Orion will travel more than 40,000 miles beyond the Moon, passing through the Van Allen Belts – areas beyond low-Earth orbit where cosmic radiation is trapped – and providing researchers with a true deep space environment for conducting these experiments.

“We don’t currently know what the effects of radiation are outside of low-Earth orbit and how that could affect our system and our biology,” said Dinah Dimapilis, NASA project manager. “I’m excited to see what we can learn from these experiments, to see us go back to the Moon, and to know that I get to be a part of all of this.”

The four experiments will be split into two science bags fabricated and assembled by personnel with the Test Operations and Support Contract at Kennedy. About three weeks before launch, each science bag will be carefully placed into container assemblies built by a team with the Florida spaceport’s Laboratory Support Services and Operations Contract and then secured to the backbone of Orion.

When Orion finishes its journey and splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, each of the experiments will be returned to the principal investigators for further study. Those principal investigators were awarded grants from NASA Biological and Physical Sciences, totaling approximately $1.6 million. The awardees are Federica Brandizzi, Ph.D., Michigan State University; Timothy Hammond, Ph.D., Institute for Medical Research, Inc.; Zheng Wang, Ph.D., Naval Research Laboratory; and Luis Zea, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder.

NASA to Air First Private Astronaut Mission to Station

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endeavor stand ready for Axiom Space's Axiom Mission 1 at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in Florida.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard is seen at sunrise on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), Thursday, April 7, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA and Axiom Space will provide coverage of launch and select mission activities for Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.

Liftoff is scheduled at 11:17 a.m. EDT Friday, April 8, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Coverage begins on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 10:15 a.m. EDT Friday, April 8. Coverage will join the Axiom Space broadcast that begins at about 7:50 a.m. The broadcast will end after orbital insertion approximately 15 minutes after launch.

Weather officials with the 45th Weather Squadron are predicting a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch, with the primary concern being liftoff winds. Teams also are monitoring the down range weather for the flight path of the Crew Dragon.

Ax-1 crew members, Commander Michael López-Alegría of the U.S. and Spain, Pilot Larry Connor of the U.S., Mission Specialist Eytan Stibbe of Israel, and Mission Specialist Mark Pathy of Canada, will launch on a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard SpaceX Dragon Endeavour on its third flight to station.

Leaders from NASA, Axiom Space, and SpaceX will participate in a postlaunch media briefing to provide an update on the launch and mission operations. The briefing is targeted to begin at 12:30 p.m. EDT, or about one hour following launch.

During the 10-day mission, eight of which will be spent aboard the orbiting laboratory, the crew will complete more than 25 science experiments and technology demonstrations developed for a microgravity environment.

NASA is working to build a robust low-Earth orbit economy and working with private companies to support the agency’s goals. In doing so, NASA can become one of many customers of this robust economy as the agency focuses on landing the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program.

To follow along with the Ax-1 mission, visit https://www.axiomspace.com/ax1 and the Ax-1 Briefings, Events and Broadcast Schedule. NASA will release a separate advisory at a later date to preview the Ax-1 farewell event and return coverage.

For more information about NASA’s low-Earth orbit commercialization activities, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/leo-economy/

NASA Announces Date for SpaceX’s 24th Cargo Resupply Mission

A close-up view of SpaceX's cargo Dragon spacecraft atop the Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
A close-up view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon capsule atop in the vertical position on June 2, 2021, at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in preparation for the company’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA to the International Space Station. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX are targeting Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 5:06 a.m. EST for launch of the 24th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station. The Dragon spacecraft will lift off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Dragon will bring food, supplies, and scientific investigations to the orbiting crew, including a protein crystal growth study that could improve the delivery of cancer treatment drugs and a handheld bioprinter that could one day be used to print tissue directly onto wounds to faster healing.

The spacecraft will arrive at the station on Wednesday, Dec. 22 at approximately 4:30 a.m. and remain docked for about a month before returning to Earth.

The mission will be covered live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Lift and Mate Operations Complete for Space Test Program 3, Now Targeted for Dec. 5

Teams prepare to lift the STP-3 spacecraft and attach it to the top of ULA's Atlas V rocket.
The Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC) is mounted atop its ride to space, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, in preparation for launch. STP-3 will host NASA’s Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD). LCRD will send and receive data over infrared lasers at approximately 1.2 gigabits per second from geosynchronous orbit to Earth and seeks to make operational laser communications a reality. Photo Credit: United Launch Alliance

NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) moved one step closer to launch on Monday, Nov. 22, after a team of engineers fastened the payload fairing containing its host satellite to a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 551 rocket. Launch is now targeted for Dec. 5, 2021, due to inclement weather during launch vehicle processing.

Teams at Astrotech Space Operations Payload Processing Facility in Titusville, Florida, spent several weeks preparing the satellite before moving it to the United Launch Alliance’s Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS) for the lift and mate operations.

The Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC) is mounted atop its ride to space, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, in preparation for launch. Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Inside the VIF, a team of engineers fastened the payload fairing, which houses the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Space Test Program Satellite-6 (STPSat-6) spacecraft. LCRD is hosted on STPSat-6. The mission is scheduled to launch on Dec. 5 from Launch Complex 41 on CCSFS, with a two-hour launch window beginning at 4:04 a.m. EST.

The fully stacked rocket and payload stands 196 feet tall and is anticipated to roll out on a mobile launch platform from the VIF to the launch pad on Dec. 3. The rocket’s Centaur second stage and spacecraft will remain attached until 4 minutes, 33 seconds after launch, with deployment of STPSat-6 scheduled about 6 hours, 30 minutes after launch.

NASA’s LCRD payload, hosted on STPSat-6, is about the size of a king-sized mattress and seeks to make operational laser communications a reality. As space missions generate and collect more data, higher bandwidth communications technologies are needed to bring data home, and laser communications systems offer higher bandwidth in a smaller package that uses less power. LCRD will send and receive data over infrared lasers at approximately 1.2 gigabits per second from geosynchronous orbit to Earth.

LCRD is led by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Partners include NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. LCRD is funded through NASA’s Technology Demonstration Missions program, part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program at NASA Headquarters.

To learn more about the STP-3 launch, visit: www.ulalaunch.com. To stay updated about LCRD and laser communications, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/lasercomms.

NOAA’s GOES-T Arrives in Florida for Processing Ahead of Launch

Secured inside a shipping container, the GOES-T satellite is removed from the holding area of a United States Air Force C-5 cargo plane.
The shipping container holding the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite T (GOES-T) is unloaded from a United States Air Force C-5 cargo plane following its arrival at the Launch and Landing Facility runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo credit: NASA/Gregory B Harland

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite T (GOES-T) – the third satellite in NOAA’s GOES-R series – is now in Florida, undergoing final preparations ahead of its targeted launch on March 1, 2022. The satellite arrived at the Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 10, 2021, in a United States Air Force C-5 cargo plane. Shortly after landing at the runway, teams transported it to an Astrotech Space Operations facility in nearby Titusville, where it will remain for processing and final checkouts prior to liftoff.

Upon its arrival at Astrotech, teams removed the spacecraft from its shipping container and attached it to the electrical ground support equipment that they will use to perform multiple tests over the next few weeks to ensure all satellite elements function properly.

A ULA transport boat carrying the first and second stages of the Atlas V rocket that will launch the GOES-T satellite arrives at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) transport boat carrying the first and second stages of the company’s Atlas V 541 rocket arrives at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS) in Florida on Nov. 15, 2021. Photo credit: NASA/Daniel Casper

GOES-T will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS). After departing from ULA’s manufacturing plant in Decatur, Alabama, on Nov. 6, the rocket’s first and second stages arrived at CCSFS aboard a transport boat on Nov. 15. When spacecraft testing is complete and teams have conducted the Launch Vehicle Readiness Review, the satellite – once encapsulated in its protective payload fairing – will be placed atop the Atlas V rocket in preparation for liftoff from Space Launch Complex 41.

The GOES-R program is a collaboration between NASA and the NOAA. NASA manufactures and launches the satellites and NOAA funds and operates them and distributes their data to users worldwide. The GOES satellite network helps meteorologists observe and predict local weather events that affect public safety, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, fog, hurricanes, flash floods, and other severe weather. GOES-T will provide critical data for the U.S. West Coast, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and the Pacific Ocean.

This launch is being managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy in Florida, America’s multi-user spaceport. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center oversees the acquisition of the GOES-R spacecraft and instruments. Lockheed Martin designs, creates, and tests the GOES-R Series satellites. L3Harris Technologies provides the main instrument payload, the Advanced Baseline Imager, along with the ground system, which includes the antenna system for data reception.

Looking forward, NOAA is working with NASA on the next-generation geostationary satellite mission called Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO), which will bring new capabilities in support of U.S. weather, ocean, and climate operations in the 2030s. NASA will manage the development of the GeoXO satellites and launch them for NOAA.

Media Accreditation Now Open for SpaceX’s 24th Cargo Launch to Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft lift off from Kennedy's Launch Complex 39A for the company's 23rd cargo resupply services mission.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo capsule soars upward after lifting off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 3, 2021, on the company’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission for the agency to the International Space Station. Photo credit: Tony Gray and Kevin O’Connell

Media accreditation is now open for SpaceX’s 24th cargo resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station. Liftoff of the cargo Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket is targeted for late December from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Media prelaunch and launch activities will take place at Kennedy. Media wishing to take part in person must apply for credentials at https://media.ksc.nasa.gov.  International media residing in the United States must apply by Tuesday, Nov. 23. U.S. media must apply by Monday, Nov. 29.

The cargo Dragon will deliver a variety of investigations to the space station, including a protein crystal growth study that could improve the delivery of cancer treatment drugs; a handheld bioprinter that will test technology that could one day be used to print tissue directly on wounds to accelerate healing; experiments from students at several universities as part of the Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science (SPOCS) program; and an investigation from the makers of Tide that examines detergent efficacy in microgravity.

For a link to the full media advisory, click here.

NASA, NOAA Adjust GOES-T Launch Date

An artist's rendering of GOES-R.
An artist’s rendering of GOES-R. Photo credit: NASA

NASA and NOAA are now targeting launch of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite T (GOES-T) mission March 1, 2022. NASA, NOAA, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) coordinated the new launch opportunity due to shifts with other missions scheduled ahead of GOES-T. The launch previously was scheduled for Feb. 16, 2022.

GOES-T, the third satellite in NOAA’s advanced GOES-R series, will be renamed GOES-18 once it reaches geostationary orbit. After it completes checkout of its instruments and systems, the new satellite will go into operation as GOES West and work in tandem with GOES-16, which operates in the GOES East position.

GOES-T, which arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Nov. 10, will launch on a ULA Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The two-hour launch window will open at 4:38 p.m. EST. NASA’s Launch Services Program is managing the launch.

NOAA manages the GOES-R Series Program through an integrated NOAA-NASA office, administering the ground system contract, operating the satellites, and distributing their data to users worldwide. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, oversees the acquisition of the GOES-R spacecraft and instruments. Lockheed Martin designs, creates, and tests the GOES-R series satellites. L3Harris Technologies provides the main instrument payload, the Advanced Baseline Imager, along with the ground system, which includes the antenna system for data reception.

Looking forward, NOAA is working with NASA on the next-generation geostationary satellite mission called GeoXO, which will bring new capabilities in support of U.S. weather, ocean, and climate operations in the 2030s. NASA will manage the development of the GeoXO satellites and launch them for NOAA.