SpaceX Demo-1 Launch Update

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft rolled out to Launch Complex 39A and went vertical for a dry run to prep for the upcoming Demo-1 flight test.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft rolled out to Launch Complex 39A and went vertical for a dry run to prep for the upcoming Demo-1 flight test. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX are continuing to work on the activities leading toward the Demo-1, uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station. NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than February for the launch of Demo-1 to complete hardware testing and joint reviews. NASA and SpaceX will confirm a new target date after coordination with the Eastern Range and the International Space Station Program.

Motors Arrive for Flight Safety Test of Orion Launch Abort System

Orion’s Launch Abort System
The two of three motors for Orion’s Launch Abort System (LAS) are shown inside the Launch Abort System Facility, or LASF, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Designed and built by NASA and Lockheed Martin, the jettison motor is on the left with the abort motor on the right. The motors arrived on Sept. 10, 2018, and are being stored in the LASF during processing for a full-stress test of the LAS called Ascent Abort-2.
Photo credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

Launch Abort System, or LAS, motors are being assembled and checked out at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for an upcoming test for the Orion spacecraft designed to send astronauts on trips to the Moon, and support human exploration to Mars.

Orion is designed to launch atop the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that will take astronauts into deep space. Before flying astronauts, the Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2) flight test will help verify that the LAS can pull astronauts to safety in the event of a problem during launch.
The crew escape system will be attached to the top of the spacecraft.

Ascent Abort-2 Flight Test
This illustration depicts the Ascent Abort-2 Flight Test scheduled for April 2019. An integral part of ensuring safe spaceflight, Orion’s Launch Abort System, or LAS, is a state-of-the-art crew escape system is attached to the top of the spacecraft. It can propel the crew module away from the rocket in milliseconds should a life-threatening event arise during launch.
Photo credit: NASA

According to Carlos Garcia of Orion Production Operations at Kennedy there are three motors on the LAS- the abort, attitude control and jettison motors. The abort motor can propel the crew module away from the rocket in milliseconds should there be an issue with SLS on the pad or during launch. The attitude control motor would steer the spacecraft during the maneuver. The jettison motor will pull the LAS away from the crew module, allowing Orion’s parachutes to deploy with the spacecraft safely landing in the ocean.

The abort and jettison motors for the test arrived on Aug. 27 and Sept. 10, 2018 respectively, and the attitude control motor was delivered Dec. 15.

“As the motor segments come in, we align and mate them to the motor truss assembly,” Garcia said. “We’re working on the electrical connections now.”

All are being checked out and processed in the Launch Abort System Facility, or LASF, prior to final assembly.

“Once the LAS assembly and checkout are complete, we’ll do a soft mate to the Orion crew module mock-up,” Garcia said. “That test will help us make sure everything is working as intended.”

Technicians with Jacobs check the aeroshells
On Aug. 3, 2018, in High Bay 4 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, technicians with Jacobs check the alignment during stacking of the aeroshells for Orion’s Launch Abort System (LAS) rocket. The aeroshells are being prepared for a full-stress test of the LAS, called Ascent Abort-2 Flight Test, or AA-2.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

For AA-2, a test version of Orion equipped with 284 sensors will launch atop a booster provided by Northrop Grumman from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The test booster is being processed in the space center’s Vehicle Assembly Building and later will be transported to SLC 46.

“After the LAS is mated to Orion, the combination will be moved to the Cape for mating to the booster,” Garcia said.

Targeted for May 2019, AA-2 will test an LAS abort under the highest aerodynamic loads it would experience in flight. The booster will accelerate to 31,000 feet, traveling at more than 1,000 miles an hour. The LAS abort motor then will ignite, pulling the crew module away from the booster.

The jettison motor separates the LAS from the crew module. The AA-2 test will conclude as data recorders are jettisoned for retrieval in the Atlantic Ocean.

New Target Date for SpaceX Demo-1

NASA and SpaceX have agreed to move the target launch date of the uncrewed Demo-1 flight test to the International Space Station. SpaceX coordinated with the Eastern Range for a launch on Thursday, Jan 17. This adjustment allows the return of the Dragon spacecraft from the company’s 16th commercial resupply services mission. SpaceX’s Demo-1 will provide key data associated with the ground, integrated rocket and spacecraft, and autonomous docking systems, and the landing profile ahead of the company’s flight test with astronauts, known as Demo-2.

“We still have more work to do as the certification process, hardware development and readiness reviews continue,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “The key readiness reviews along with NASA’s continued analysis of hardware and software testing and certification data must be closed out prior to launch. The upcoming steps before the test missions are critical, and their importance can’t be understated. We are not driven by dates, but by data. Ultimately, we’ll fly SpaceX Demo-1 at the right time, so we get the right data back to support the in-flight abort test and the next test flight when our astronauts are aboard. However, the fact we’re coordinating target dates with the Eastern Range is a great example of the real progress we’re making with commercial crew and how close we are to actually flying American spacecraft and rockets from American soil again.”

For more information on commercial crew flights, visit:

Commercial Crew Program Blogs

SpaceX CRS-16 Now Targeted for Dec. 5

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.

Weather Improves to 60 Percent Chance Favorable for SpaceX CRS-16 Launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars upward after lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:30 p.m. EDT on April 2, 2018,.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars upward after lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:30 p.m. EDT on April 2, 2018, carrying the SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft. On its 14th commercial resupply services mission for NASA, Dragon will deliver supplies, equipment and new science experiments for technology research to the space station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict a 60 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the company’s 16th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec 4 at 1:38 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On launch day, the primary weather concerns are violation of the thick cloud layer and cumulus cloud rules and flight through precipitation.

Science Briefing, Prelaunch News Conference Set for SpaceX CRS-16

SpaceX is targeting 1:38 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 4, for the launch of its 16th resupply mission to the International Space Station.
A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 29, 2018. SpaceX is targeting 1:38 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 4, for the launch of its 16th resupply mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

SpaceX’s 16th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA is targeted to launch at 1:39 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 4, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Join us Monday, Dec. 3, as we start SpaceX CRS-16 launch week coverage with prelaunch events on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

9:30 a.m. – What’s on Board science briefing from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The briefing will highlight the following research:

Jill McGuire, project manager, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will discuss RRM3.

Dr. Ralph Dubayah, principal investigator, University of Maryland, and Bryan Blair, deputy principal investigator, Goddard, will discuss GEDI.

Dr. Elaine Horn-Ranney, principal investigator, Tympanogen, will discuss an investigation into novel wound dressings and how antibiotics can be directly released on wound sites.

Nicole Wagner, LambdaVision, will discuss the Enhancement of Performance and Longevity of a Protein-Based Retinal Implant.

Winners of the Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge:

Adia Bulawa, project lead, Staying Healthy in Space

Sarina Kopf, project lead, Aeroponic Farming in Microgravity

3:30 p.m. – Prelaunch News Conference from Kennedy with the following representatives:

Joel Montelbano, deputy ISS program manager, NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Build and Flight Reliability at SpaceX

Kirt Costello, ISS program chief scientist, Johnson

Clay Flinn, launch weather officer

For the latest schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/content/spacex-crs-16-briefings-and-events/

Learn more about the SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station at: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

NASA’s ICON Analysis Underway at Vandenberg AFB

This illustration depicts NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above. Photo credit: NASA
This illustration depicts NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.
Photo credit: NASA

On Monday, Nov. 19, Northrop Grumman flew the L-1011 Stargazer and Pegasus XL rocket carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, spacecraft back to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. On Nov. 20, Northrop Grumman completed the de-mate of Pegasus from the L-1011 and transported the rocket safely into the integration facility.

The Northrop Grumman/NASA team continues its investigation into the off-nominal data observed during the Nov. 7 launch attempt. Once the analysis is complete, a new launch date will be determined. ICON will launch out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The ICON spacecraft, which uses Northrop Grumman’s LEOStar-2 platform, is monitored at all times and remains healthy.

Dragon Set to Deliver Supplies to International Space Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 2, 2018, carrying the 14th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 2, 2018, carrying the 14th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.
Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry

Commercial Resupply Services Mission: SpaceX CRS-16
Launch: 1:38 p.m. EST, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018
Lift Off: Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9, 230 feet-tall
Spacecraft: Dragon, 20 feet high, 12 feet-in diameter
Payload: Dragon will deliver supplies and payloads, including materials to directly support dozens of the science and research investigations that will occur during the space station’s Expeditions 57 and 58.
Return to Earth: After about one month attached to the space station, Dragon will return with results of earlier experiments, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.
Payloads on Board: Includes the Robotic Refueling Mission 3, or RRM3, and the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation lidar, or GEDI.

For countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

Dragon Set to Deliver Supplies to International Space Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 2, 2018, carrying the 14th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 2, 2018, carrying the 14th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.
Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry

Commercial Resupply Services Mission: SpaceX CRS-16
Launch: 1:38 p.m. EST, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018
Lift Off: Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9, 230 feet-tall
Spacecraft: Dragon, 20 feet high, 12 feet-in diameter
Payload: Dragon will deliver supplies and payloads, including materials to directly support dozens of the science and research investigations that will occur during the space station’s Expeditions 57 and 58.
Return to Earth: After about one month attached to the space station, Dragon will return with results of earlier experiments, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.
Payloads on Board: Includes the Robotic Refueling Mission 3, or RRM3, and the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation lidar, or GEDI.

For countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/spacex