Several thousand pounds of important research, crew supplies and hardware are on their way to the crew members aboard the International Space Station following the 2:20 p.m. EST launch of NASA’s SpaceX 26th commercial resupply services mission from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft reached its preliminary orbit and its solar arrays have been deployed. A series of thruster firings are scheduled to allow Dragon to rendezvous with the space station on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 a.m. EST. Live coverage of the docking will begin at 6 a.m. EST at https://www.nasa.gov/live.
NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann will capture the Dragon using the space station’s robotic arm and then install it on the station’s Harmony module. Dragon will spend about one month attached to the space station.
Dragon’s solar arrays are unfolding and the spacecraft is on course to deliver more than 7,700 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station. This includes fresh seasonal foods including some Thanksgiving treats such as ice cream, spicy green beans, cran-apple desserts, almond pumpkin pie, and more for the crew.
After separation from the Falcon 9 second stage, the rocket’s first stage has landed on SpaceX’s Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. This is the first flight of the Dragon spacecraft supporting this mission.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage engines have finished their burn and the first stage has separated from the vehicle. As the second stage continues the flight, the first stage will aim for landing on SpaceX’s Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.
The second stage Merlin engine has ignited to begin boosting Dragon to low-Earth orbit.
NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website continue to provide live coverage of the ascent. About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon will separate from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, open its nosecone, and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station.
T-0, ignition and liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft at 2:20 p.m. EST, setting off on the company’s 26th mission to deliver supplies, equipment and science materials to the International Space Station for NASA.
The vehicle is quickly climbing away from Launch Pad 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It marks the fifth and final launch of a Dragon this year. It is the first flight for this booster and spacecraft.
The countdown continues toward liftoff at 2:20 p.m. EST, 10 minutes from now. During this time, the Falcon 9’s engines will be chilled to condition them for launch, the flight computer will run its pre-launch checks and the rocket’s propellant tanks will be brought to flight pressure. Fueling of the Falcon 9 second stage began just minutes ago. Finally, SpaceX has given a “go for launch.”
About three minutes prior to launch, the access arm will swing away from the rocket. The terminal countdown begins at T-30 seconds.
The Launch Weather Office with the U.S. Space Force Weather Squadron is monitoring conditions in the launch area. The current weather prediction is 80% “go” at launch time.
During SpaceX’s 26th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for NASA, the Dragon spacecraft will deliver more than 7,700 pounds of supplies, equipment and several science investigations to the crew aboard the station, including the next pair of International Space Station Roll Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs), which will increase the power on the space station. Among the science experiments are:
A study to grow dwarf tomatoes to help create a continuous fresh-food production system in space, as well as an experiment that tests an on-demand method to create specific quantities of key nutrients.
Other studies launching include a test of a microscope with potential deep space applications and Engineered Heart Tisues-2 (EHT-2), a study of cardiac health. This experiment builds on an investigation of 3D cultures aboard the space station in 2020. The previous experiment detected changes at the cellular and tissue level that could provide early indication of the development of cardiac disease. This study tests whether new therapies could prevent these negative effects from occurring.
Humans have occupied the space station continuously since November 2000. In that time, 263 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft have visited the orbital outpost. It remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in exploration, including future missions to the Moon under Artemis, and ultimately, human exploration of Mars.
Also hitching a ride on this mission are four CubeSats for NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites, or ELaNa. They will be deployed after launch. The first is Measurement of Actuator Response in Orbit (MARIO), which will add telescopes to an existing CubeSat in low-Earth orbit. The second is called petitSat. The CubeSat’s goal is to figure out how plasma bubbles and blobs affect communication, GPS, and radar signals. The third is called Scintillation Prediction Observation Research Task (SPORT), a joint mission between the U.S. and Brazil to investigate the conditions that lead to the formation of plasma bubbles.
The final CubeSat is called Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s Research and Education Vehicle for Evaluating Radio Broadcasts (TJREVERB), developed by high school students, which will test the strength and consistency of iridium radio signals, the main way we communicate with CubeSats.
The rocket awaiting launch this afternoon is the SpaceX Falcon 9, a two-stage vehicle topped by the company’s uncrewed Dragon spacecraft. The Falcon 9 first stage is powered by nine Merlin engines that ignite at T-0; its second stage has a single Merlin engine that takes over after separation of the first stage. Merlin engines run on a combination of cryogenic liquid oxygen and a refined kerosene fuel called RP-1.
Installed atop the rocket, the Dragon spacecraft is loaded with cargo bound for the International Space Station. The Dragon offers a pressurized section as well as an unpressurized “trunk” section for additional cargo. Also located in the trunk are the spacecraft’s power-producing solar arrays.
Hello and happy Sunday afternoon from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The weather is looking much better today as NASA and SpaceX makes a second attempt at launching the 26th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Poor weather along the Space Coast forced a scrub of the planned 3:54 p.m. EST launch on Tuesday, Nov. 22, from Kennedy.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft stand ready for liftoff at Launch Complex 39A. Launch is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. EST during an instantaneous opportunity. Dragon’s internal countdown is running and propellant loading is underway. Fueling of the Falcon 9 first stage began at T-35 minutes.
Today’s launch is a cross-country effort. Launch controllers at the Florida spaceport are working in concert with teams at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and SpaceX’s control center in Hawthorne, California. The launch blog originates from the NASA News Center here at Kennedy, a few miles west of the launch complex.
Stay right here for more coverage of today’s launch!