The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a planned liftoff at 12:04 a.m. EST on Friday, March 1, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA will hold a media teleconference at 7:30 p.m. EST to discuss the outcome of the review. Listen live on NASA’s website.
Participants in the teleconference are:
Ken Bowersox, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
Steve Stich, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
Emily Nelson, chief flight director, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
Eric van der Wal, Houston office team leader, ESA (European Space Agency)
Later tonight, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, will roll out to the pad at Launch Complex 39A. On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the crew will participate in a rehearsal of launch day activities ahead of an integrated static fire test in preparation for liftoff.
NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, commander; Michael Barratt, pilot; Jeanette Epps, mission specialist; along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin, mission specialist, will fly to the International Space Station aboard the Dragon spacecraft. As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, Crew-8 marks the ninth human spaceflight mission on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and the eighth crew rotation mission to the space station since 2020.
After departing via Gulfstream jet aircraft from Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin just landed at the Launch and Landing Facility at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew will begin final preparations for liftoff to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission.
Crew-8 astronauts will be greeted shortly by NASA leaders for a brief welcome ceremony and media event, scheduled for about 2 p.m. EST with the following participants:
Jennifer Kunz, associate director, NASA Kennedy
Dana Hutcherson, deputy program manager, Commercial Crew Program
NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick
NASA astronaut Michael Barratt
NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps
Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin
The event is scheduled to be streamed live on Kennedy’s YouTube, X, and Facebook accounts.
Crew-8 astronauts are scheduled to launch to the space station at 12:04 a.m. EST on Friday, March 1, aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The crew will spend several months living and working aboard the orbiting laboratory before returning to Earth in the fall of 2024.
This is the eighth crew rotation flight and the ninth human spaceflight mission on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station for CCP. Details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the Crew-8 blog, the commercial crew blog, X, and Facebook.
NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft has successfully made contact with ground stations back on Earth providing teams with early readings of its overall status, health, operation, and capabilities postlaunch.
A full postlaunch assessment review to determine PACE’s readiness to move into the operational phase of its mission will be conducted in the coming weeks.
Information collected throughout PACE’s mission will benefit society in the areas of ocean health, harmful algal bloom monitoring, ecological forecasting, and air quality. PACE also will contribute new global measurements of ocean color, cloud properties, and aerosols, which will be essential to understanding the global carbon cycle and ocean ecosystem responses to a changing climate.
The PACE’s mission is designed to last at least three years, though the spacecraft is loaded with enough propellant to expand that timeline more than three times as long.
To read more about the launch of the PACE mission, please visit:
NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft has separated from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, beginningits science mission from sun-synchronous orbit about 420 miles above the Earth’s surface.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage has successfully landed at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Tonight’s mission marks the fourthcompleted flight for this Falcon 9.
A series of rapid events occurs after launch. After Max Q – the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket – the nine Merlin engines of the Falcon 9’s first stage will finish their burn and cut off during a phase called MECO or Main Engine Cutoff.
Quickly after MECO, the stage separation sequence occurs. The second stage carrying NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft will continue on its journey to sun-synchronous orbit.
Coming up next, the Falcon 9’s second stage engine ignites, and the protective payload fairings will be jettisoned to reveal NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft to the vacuum of space for the first time.
Meanwhile, the first stage of the rocket begins its recovery journey for a vertical landing at SpaceX Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Landing should occur about eight and a half minutes after liftoff.
Stay right here on the blog for more live mission coverage.
3, 2, 1 … LIFTOFF! A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 1:33 a.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 8.
The next milestone is Max Q or maximum dynamic pressure – the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket.
Continue following live coverage of launch milestones here on the blog, or watch live coverageonthe NASA+ streaming service, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms, including social media.
NASA’s senior launch manager, Tim Dunn, has just given NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission the “go” for launch!
In the next few moments, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s nine Merlin engines will roar to life at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, sending the PACE spacecraft on the start of its journey to a sun-synchronous orbit to study the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean surface from space.
When NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission launches at 1:33 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will follow a little used flight path, or trajectory.
After liftoff, the rocket will head south along the Florida coastline during its powered flight to insert the spacecraft into a sun-synchronous orbit. That means the spacecraft will always be in the same “fixed” position relative to the Sun as it orbits over the Earth’s polar regions.
Provided the nighttime skies over South Florida are clear, millions of residents will be able to look up and see the Falcon 9 overhead within minutes after launch.
As NASA and SpaceX teams continue to work toward liftoff of the agency’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission aboard a Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for 1:33 a.m. EST, here’s a look at some facts about the spacecraft and the science instruments on board:
The PACE spacecraft stands about 10 feet tall and when fully fueled weighs 3,748 pounds.
PACE’s propulsion system uses monopropellant hydrazine. A single tank holds about 518 pounds (235 kg) of hydrazine that feeds eight onboard thrusters.
The spacecraft’s solar array is made of three panels. The array measures 100 inches by 173 inches and generates about 2.7 kilowatts of power at beginning of operation.
The primary science instrument is the ocean color instrument. The instrument will monitor global phytoplankton distribution and record new observations of the color of the ocean which is determined by the interaction of phytoplankton and sunlight.
PACE carries two other instruments called polarimeters which are contributed by a consortium based in the Netherlands and University of Maryland Baltimore County.