Coming up in the next few minutes, the launch conductor will take a launch readiness poll and give the final go-ahead to controllers to begin loading flight propellants into the Falcon 9. That activity, called tanking, is scheduled to start at about 4:08 p.m.
The two-stage rocket’s Merlin engines — nine of the first stage and one on the second stage — are powered by a combination of liquid oxygen and highly refined kerosene called RP-1.
Today’s launch weather forecast continues to look good for liftoff at 4:43 p.m. according to Captain Laura Godoy of the 45th Weather Squadron. She placed the probability of conditions violating launch weather rules to be less than 10 percent.
“We are ‘go’ for all launch commit criteria – both range and user criteria,” Godoy said.
Sealed aboard the Dragon spacecraft are nearly 7,000 pounds of science research, crew supplies and hardware heading to the International Space Station in support of the Expedition 47 and 48 crew members.
SpaceX CRS-8 is the company’s eighth mission to deliver cargo to the orbiting laboratory under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
To learn more about the important role Commercial Resupply has in NASA’s exploration goals, read on.
Good afternoon, and thanks for joining us for today’s launch coverage. Countdown clocks at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are ticking toward liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft packed with cargo bound for the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for an instantaneous window opening at 4:43 p.m. EDT.
Weather at the spaceport is postcard-perfect, and other than a concern about the potential for liftoff winds, meteorologists at the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predict a 90 percent chance of cooperative conditions at launch time. Launch managers will receive another weather briefing in about 15 minutes.
Teams across the country are conducting and monitoring today’s countdown and liftoff, from SpaceX’s launch control center here in Florida to the company’s mission control operations at its Hawthorne, California headquarters. NASA’s Mission Control in Houston is involved too, since the space station is Dragon’s destination.
There’s more to come as the countdown continues, so stay with us!
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoff at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in this photo taken earlier today. The rocket will launch a Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:43 p.m. EDT; live countdown coverage begins at 3:30 p.m.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Space-age plants are growing in first lady Michelle Obama’s White House Kitchen Garden. The seeds, prepared at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, are from the same lot of ‘Tokyo Bekana’ Chinese cabbage seeds that are part of the Veg-03 experiment that will be carried to the International Space Station in the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft during its eighth Commercial Resupply Services mission.
The first lady joined students from across the country to plant the seedlings. Also joining her were NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, and astronaut Cady Coleman. Gioia Massa, NASA Veg-03 science team lead at Kennedy, also helped plant the seedlings with the kids.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is in place at Space Launch Complex 40 on Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where final prelaunch preps are under way for liftoff at 4:43 p.m. today. Atop the Falcon 9 is a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft loaded with cargo destined for the International Space Station. The SpaceX CRS-8 mission is the company’s eighth cargo flight to the orbiting laboratory under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
The weather forecast has held steady with a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions predicted for launch time. Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron cite liftoff winds as the primary weather concern.
Live countdown coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT. In the meantime, check out SpaceX’s newly released CRS-8 press kit, available here.
There is a 90 percent chance of favorable weather for Friday’s planned liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the company’s eighth flight to deliver supplies, science experiments and technology demonstrations to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for 4:43 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The L-1 day forecast issued by the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron cites liftoff winds as the primary concern. View the full forecast here.
The launch of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station on April 8 will set the stage for an historic rendezvous in orbit.
Although the SpaceX and Orbital ATK spacecraft have made 12 launches between them, this will be the first time that the two vehicles, contracted by NASA and developed by private industry to resupply the station, are connected to the space station at the same time. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus, which launched to the station March 22, is already attached to the station’s Unity Module. Dragon will take the port right next to it on the Earth facing side of the Harmony module. SpaceX made its first cargo resupply mission for NASA in 2012 and Orbital ATK followed with Cygnus the next year.