Live launch coverage is underway on NASA Television and the agency’s website for the targeted lift off at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time) of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station.
The three will join NASA astronaut Anne McClain, station commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. The crew members will continue important research experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, teams are making final preparations for the launch of NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time). Live launch coverage will begin at 2 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The trio’s arrival will return the orbiting laboratory’s population to six, including three NASA astronauts. This launch will also mark the fourth Expedition crew with two female astronauts. The three will join station commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. The new crew members will dock to the Rassvet module at 9:07 p.m. Expedition 59 will begin officially at the time of docking.
Hague and Ovchinin are completing a journey that was cut short Oct. 11, when a booster separation problem with their Soyuz rocket’s first stage triggered a launch abort two minutes into the flight. They landed safely a few minutes later, after reaching the fringes of space, and were reassigned to fly again after McClain, Kononenko and Saint-Jacques launched in early December. This will be Ovchinin’s third flight into space, the second for Hague and the first for Koch. Hague, Koch, and McClain are from NASA’s 2013 astronaut class, half of which were women—the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected for a class.
Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:
Thursday, March 14
6:14:09am 9:00 Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel
9:14:09am 6:00 Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
9:29:09am 5:45 Batteries installed in booster
9:59:09am 5:15 Crew arrives at Site 254
10:14:09am 5:00 Tanking begins
10:44:09am 4:30 Crew suit up
11:09:09am 4:05 Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen
11:44:09am 3:30 Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
12:09:09pm 3:05 First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
12:14:09pm 3:00 Crew walkout from 254 and boards bus for the launch pad
12:19:09pm 2:55 Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
12:39:09pm 2:35 Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
12:49:09pm 2:25 Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
1:39:09pm 1:35 Descent module hardware tested
1:54:09pm 1:20 Hatch closed; leak checks begin
2:00:00pm 1:14:09 NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
2:14:09pm 1:00 Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
2:15:00pm :59:09 NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities B-roll played)
2:29:09pm :45:00 Pad service structure components lowered
2:30:09pm :44:00 Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
NASA astronaut Anne McClain floated through the Tranquility and Zvezda service modules, deploying acoustic monitors. She paused in the U.S. lab at an EXPRESS rack to install communications gear and perform additional maintenance. David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency also worked with EXPRESS today, moving Space Automated Bioproduct Labs from rack-1 to rack-2. This miniature laboratory within the larger orbiting laboratory supports life science research, hosting microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, algae, fungi, viruses, etc.), small organisms, animal cells, tissue cultures and small plants for evaluation in space.
Today in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, were certified for flight by the Russian state commission and held their final news conference.
Tomorrow, the soon-to-be station residents will hitch a ride aboard a Soyuz MS-12 for blastoff at 3:14 p.m. EDT on, coincidentally, 3/14. After a relatively speedy six-hour flight, the Soyuz is expected to dock to station’s Rassvet module at 9:07 p.m. Expedition 59 will begin officially at the time of docking.
The events will unfold live on NASA TV, with launch coverage beginning at 2 p.m. and docking coverage at 8:15 p.m., respectively. After a brief break, tune in at 10:30 p.m. for the hatch opening and welcome, which will return the orbiting laboratory’s population to six—including three NASA astronauts. And, just in time for Women’s History Month, this launch marks the fourth Expedition crew with two female astronauts.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain conducted botany work with the VEG-03 experiment, which builds on what scientists have initially learned about harvesting vegetation in space with VEG-01. This time around, testing will demonstrate plant growth with a new batch of crops, including red romaine lettuce, extra dwarf Pak Choi, red Russian kale and wasabi mustard. McClain also spent time on life-support system upkeep in the Kibo lab module and maintenance in the U.S. lab on an EXPRESS rack—hardware integral to providing structural interfaces and support for science experiments with power, data, cooling, water and other items needed for successful operations.
In the Quest airlock, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques completed additional prep work for upcoming spacewalks slated for March 22, 29 and April 8 by scrubbing cooling loops and performing leak checks on the spacesuits. After resupplying the Human Research Facility-2 rack, Saint Jacques added input to a questionnaire for Behavioral Core Measures, an investigation that seeks to create a standardized toolkit to rapidly and reliably assess the risk of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders that could occur with longer space missions.
On behalf of the Expedition 58 crew, NASA Astronaut Anne McClain takes time to congratulate the NASA and SpaceX teams immediately following the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s undocking from the International Space Station at 2:32 a.m. EST Friday, March 8.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon returned to Earth with a splash in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s eastern shore at 8:45 a.m. EST, completing an end-to-end flight test to demonstrate most of the capabilities of its crew transportation system to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
The mission, known as Demo-1, is a critical step for NASA and SpaceX to demonstrate the ability to safely fly missions with NASA astronauts to the orbital laboratory.
The Crew Dragon launched March 2 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was the first commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket to launch from American soil on a mission to the space station and autonomously dock to the station. To complete the docking, both the station and Crew Dragon’s adapters used the new international docking standard.
Crew Dragon is returning to Earth some critical research samples from science investigations conducted to enable human exploration farther into space and develop and demonstrate in the U.S. ISS National Laboratory new technologies, treatments, and products for improving life on Earth.
Also traveling aboard the spacecraft is an anthropomorphic test device named Ripley outfitted with sensors to provide data about potential effects on humans traveling in Crew Dragon.
SpaceX’s recovery ship, Go Searcher, is equipped with a crane to lift Crew Dragon out of the water and onto the main deck of the ship within an hour after splashdown.
NASA and SpaceX still have work to do to review the systems and flight data to validate the spacecraft’s performance and prepare it to fly astronauts. Already planned upgrades, additional qualification testing, and an in-flight abort test will occur before NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will climb aboard for Demo-2, the crewed flight test to the International Space Station that is necessary to certify Crew Dragon for routine operational missions.
Crew Dragon’s splashdown in the Atlantic was almost 50 years after the return of Apollo 9 on March 13, 1969, the last human spacecraft to return to the waters off the East Coast.
Known as Demo-1, SpaceX’s inaugural mission with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is an important uncrewed end-to-end flight test of the new system’s capabilities.
The spacecraft departed the space station at 2:32 a.m. EST and is on track for a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 nautical miles off the eastern shore of Florida.
At approximately 7:48 a.m., Crew Dragon will separate from its trunk containing its solar array and radiator. Four minutes later, the spacecraft’s thrusters will initiate the deorbit burn at 7:52 a.m. The 15-minute, 25-second burn will place the Crew Dragon on its final re-entry path into Earth’s atmosphere. The nosecone will be closed before the spacecraft enters the atmosphere.
At about 8:41 a.m., drogue parachutes will deploy, and the four main chutes will begin to open less than a minute later to slow the Crew Dragon during its final descent prior to its water landing at about 8:45 a.m.
SpaceX’s two recovery ships are positioned nearby to recover Crew Dragon and return it to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, to conclude its mission.
At 2:32 a.m. EST, Crew Dragon undocked from the International Space Station to begin the final phase of its uncrewed Demo-1 flight test. The spacecraft is slowly maneuvering away from the orbital laboratory into an orbital track that will return it and its cargo safely to Earth.
NASA will continue to provide live coverage until Crew Dragon is out of the immediate area of the station and will resume at 7:30 a.m. for the reentry, splashdown, and recovery.
In about five hours, the Crew Dragon will separate from its trunk whose exterior contains a solar array that provided power to Dragon and a radiator to reject heat.
Following separation, Crew Dragon’s thrusters will initiate the spacecraft’s deorbit burn at about 7:52 a.m. The 15-minute, 25-second burn will place the Crew Dragon on its final re-entry path into Earth’s atmosphere. The spacecraft is expected to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean at about 8:45 a.m., its speed slowed by an enhanced parachute system in which drogue parachutes will deploy about four minutes before landing to unfurl four main chutes less than a minute later.
After Crew Dragon lands in the Atlantic Ocean, SpaceX’s recovery ship will recover it and return it to Port Canaveral, Florida to conclude its mission.
SpaceX’s inaugural mission with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is an important end-to-end to test of the new system’s capabilities.
The uncrewed SpaceX DM-1 mission has one final milestone and that is the safe return to Earth with a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean around 8:45 a.m. EST Friday. The Crew Dragon will undock Friday at 2:31 a.m. from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. NASA TV will broadcast the departure and return activities live.
The first commercial crew vehicle from SpaceX will be bringing back over 330 pounds of science gear, crew supplies and station hardware. It delivered almost 450 pounds of materials to resupply the station crew on March 3.
Science took precedence as usual aboard the orbital lab today as SpaceX prepares to welcome its Crew Dragon back on Earth.
Commander Oleg Kononenko worked throughout the day on a Russian-European experiment researching plasma physics. The Plasma Krystal-4 study observes plasma crystal formation that could inform future research and spacecraft designs.
The Crew Dragon is being packed and readied for its return to Earth on Friday. In the midst of NASA’s first Commercial Crew mission, the crew members continued more space research and practiced an emergency drill today.
Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency transferred cargo in and out of the Crew Dragon today. Over 300 pounds of science gear, crew supplies and station hardware will be retrieved from Dragon after it returns to Earth.
The Crew Dragon will undock Friday at 2:31 a.m. EST from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. It will parachute to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean around 8:45 a.m. EST. NASA TV will cover all the activities live.
Both astronauts then joined Commander Oleg Kononenko from Roscosmos to practice an emergency evacuation of the International Space Station. The trio wore breathing masks, entered the docked Soyuz spacecraft and prepared for a return to Earth in the unlikely event of a critical emergency aboard the orbital complex.