The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 4:43 p.m. EDT, and Dragon has begun its journey to the International Space Station. Dragon separated from its second stage and achieved its preliminary orbit. Dragon’s solar arrays have deployed and will provide 5 kilowatts of power to the spacecraft as it begins a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the International Space Station.
A post-launch news conference will air on NASA TV at 6 p.m. EDT.
The spacecraft will arrive at the station Sunday, April 10, at which time ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Tim Peake and NASA astronaut Jeff Williams will use the station’s robotic arm to capture the Dragon spacecraft. Ground commands will be sent from Houston to the station’s arm to install Dragon on the bottom side of the Harmony module for its stay at the space station. Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will begin at 5:30 a.m. on NASA TV, with installation set to begin at 9:30 a.m.
To learn more about the dozens of science experiments headed to the space station, watch the science briefing “What’s on Board”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq_Kl0IGHH0
For more information on the SpaceX CRS-8 mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station. To join the conversation online, use #Dragon.