Tonight’s blog originates from the Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center a few miles from Space Launch Complex-40. It’s the first time we’ve used this location since normally we write from inside Hangar AE on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or from the Press Site at Kennedy. The reason we are here tonight is as a safety precaution called for by Range Safety officials from NASA and the 45th Space Wing. With winds blowing from the southeast throughout the evening and through launch, the Dragon capsule could parachute back onto land. The safety staff took extra caution to close areas of Kennedy that have previously been open, including the Press Site.
The good news is that Kennedy covers 144,000 acres, so we had no trouble getting an alternate venue that will allow us to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of tonight’s countdown and to follow the ascent of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and cargo-carrying Dragon capsule. We are still targeting liftoff for 12:45 a.m. EDT. By the way, the Space Station Processing Facility, pictured above, has made a name for itself in recent years as well since almost all the modules and components of the International Space Station passed through the building to complete their assembly and processing before launch on the space shuttles. Only the Russian station elements did not see the SSPF before launch. Today, the SSPF is used for processing cargo headed to the station, even payloads not launching from Florida.