For commercial crew flights, we plan for any scenario that may arise, including unlikely emergencies, such as a spacecraft abort and subsequent splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. Recently, two NASA astronauts as well as a team from the Department of Defense Human Space Flight Support Office Rescue Division practiced what they will do in that very scenario. The DoD team is responsible for quickly and safely rescuing astronauts in the unlikely event of an emergency during ascent, free flight or landing. To learn more about both team’s practices, check out our crew rescue feature.
SpaceX is set to launch its Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket, the first launch of a space system designed for humans built and operated by a commercial company through a public-private partnership, on a flight test to the International Space Station (ISS) at 2:49 a.m. EST on Saturday, March 2.
For a launch Saturday, meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting an 80 percent chance of favorable weather. Weak high pressure in advance of a front moving southeast into the area is expected during the launch window with a low probability for rain and weak surface winds and only slight concerns of any cumulus cloud or thick cloud rule violations during the instantaneous launch window.
NASA and SpaceX are now targeting Wednesday, Dec. 5 for launch of the 16th SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. The launch was moved to Wednesday after mold was found on food bars for a rodent investigation prior to handover to SpaceX. Teams will use the extra day to replace the food bars. The launch time for Wednesday is 1:16 p.m. EST.
Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing continue to predict an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Launch is scheduled for April 16 at 6:32 p.m. EDT on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On launch day, the primary weather concern are strong winds.
The CYGNSS launch planned for Wednesday, Dec. 14 is being delayed due to an issue with flight parameter data used by spacecraft software. The issue was discovered during routine testing Tuesday. The new flight parameter data have undergone verification testing on the engineering model, and will be uploaded to the spacecraft on Wednesday. The uploading of new flight data is a very routine procedure, and is expected correct the issue. The next launch attempt will be determined pending the results of ongoing tests.
Catch up by watching this interview with NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan. Stofan shared the significance of OSIRIS-REx and the data it will gather on a near-Earth asteroid, called Bennu with Joshua Finch, NASA Office of Communications, during Thursday’s launch broadcast. In addition to a status on the asteroid retrieval mission, Stofan offered the role OSIRIS-REx plays in NASA’s overall goals of exploration.
NASA has selected four astronauts who will train to fly Commercial Crew flight tests in 2017 aboard the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon. Greg Hurley, Eric Boe, Bob Behnken, and Suni Williams have been selected to be the first astronauts to board those spacecraft.
“What comes with our assignment is a fair amount of responsibility because there will be a legacy of astronauts for years and years to come who will have to live with the decisions that we in the agency are making with Boeing and SpaceX now,” said Bob Behnken of he and his fellow Commercial Crew astronauts.
Celebrate Fourth of July with Commercial Crew by coloring our newest coloring sheet. You candownload the sheet, at http://go.nasa.gov/1Hy6H2U. To follow the latest progress on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, check out the Commercial Crew blog, at blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew.
SpaceX and NASA teams will gain important insight into how the Crew Dragon spacecraft and its abort system perform during a test slated for Wednesday, May 6, engineers said today.
Next week’s flight test is to see a Crew Dragon and trunk – together about 20 feet tall – fly on the power of eight SuperDraco engines from a platform at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, simulating an emergency escape from the launch pad.
“This is what SpaceX was basically founded for, human spaceflight,” said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Mission Assurance with SpaceX. “The pad abort is going to show that we’ve developed a revolutionary system for the safety of the astronauts, and this test is going to show how it works. It’s our first big test on the Crew Dragon.”
The test window will open at 7 a.m. May 6 and extend until 2:30 p.m. EDT. NASA will provide updates about the test on our Commercial Crew Blog and air the test live on NASA Television.
“No matter what happens on test day, SpaceX is going to learn a lot,” said Jon Cowart, NASA’s partner manager for SpaceX. “One test is worth a thousand good analyses.”