Tonight’s countdown is proceeding as planned.
We are 20 minutes away from tonight’s liftoff of the CRS-9 mission to the International Space Station.
Refined kerosene fuel and liquid oxygen are being loaded into the first and second stages of the Falcon 9 rocket as we progress toward an on-time liftoff at 12:45 a.m. EDT.
Tonight’s launch will carry a 1,020-pound docking ring to the International Space Station that will become an integral element of the station as well as a new generation of spacecraft including two in development with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program: Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.
SpaceX Launch Conductor Ty Morton polled his team and has given a “go” to fuel the Falcon 9 rocket for launch. Propellant will be pumped into the first and second stages of the rocket. Everything remains on course to launch the Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 12:45:29 a.m. EDT Monday.
The forecast continues to look good for launch in about 45 minutes. The 45th Weather Squadron meteorologists are still on the watch for cumulus clouds or other violations, but none are expected to develop between now and liftoff at 12:45 a.m. EDT.
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.
Thanks for joining NASA’s Launch Blog this evening in Florida where we are 75 minutes from launch! SpaceX has positioned its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft for liftoff at 12:45:29 a.m. EDT. Launch teams are in place here and at the company’s control center in Hawthorne, California. NASA teams also are in place at Mission Control in Houston. The weather forecast remains 90 percent chance of “go” conditions.
While we cover the countdown on the blog, NASA TV is also airing the countdown and tonight’s launch. The broadcast is also available at www.nasa.gov/ntv
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are standing today at Space Launch Complex 40 awaiting liftoff. Launch is scheduled for 12:45 a.m. EDT. The weather forecast calls for a 90 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time. Continuous countdown and launch coverage will begin at 11:30 p.m. EDT here on the NASA Launch Blog and on NASA TV.
The Dragon spacecraft is loaded with about 5,000 pounds of experiments and materials for the International Space Station. The payloads include a docking adapter needed for future spacecraft headed to the station including those from partners Boeing and SpaceX for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The spacecraft also carries hardware and experiment elements needed for dozens of research investigations that will take place in orbit during Expeditions 48 and 49. You can read details about the experiments here and details about the docking adapter, IDA-2, here. Photo credit: SpaceX