While SpaceX continues preparations for the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Crew Program, the company also is getting ready for the agency’s next cargo resupply mission to the orbiting laboratory.
SpaceX’s 21st resupply mission for NASA, its first under the second-generation Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-2) contract, will be the first resupply mission to use the upgraded version of the Dragon spacecraft. The flight will bring science and supplies to the newly expanded Expedition 64 crew beginning with liftoff on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA and SpaceX currently are targeting no earlier than 12:50 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 2, for the CRS-21 launch, pending Eastern Range acceptance and successful preparations and an on-time liftoff of Crew-1, also from Launch Complex 39A.
The science to be delivered on this mission includes a study aimed at better understanding heart disease to support development of treatments for patients on Earth, research into how microbes can be used for biomining on asteroids, and a tool being tested for quick and accurate blood analysis in microgravity. The first commercially owned and operated airlock on the space station, the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, will arrive in the unpressurized trunk of the Dragon spacecraft. Bishop will provide a variety of capabilities to the orbiting laboratory, including CubeSat deployment and support of external payloads.
NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 6:24 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 24, for the company’s 18th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. The Dragon spacecraft will launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and arrive at the space station on Friday, July 26, filled with about 5,500 pounds of science, cargo and crew supplies for the microgravity laboratory.
A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 5:55 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 26, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This will be SpaceX’s 17th Commercial Resupply Services contract mission to the International Space Station for NASA.
Launch on April 26 results in an arrival at the space station for a robotic capture by Expedition 59 crew members David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Nick Hague of NASA on Sunday, April 28, at 7 a.m. EDT for a month-long stay.
Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.
Now in its preliminary orbit, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will begin its three-day pursuit of the International Space Station. It’s scheduled to arrive Monday, July 2. NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold will be the prime operator of the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm; he will be backed up by NASA astronaut Drew Feustel. Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor will keep watch over the spacecraft’s systems. Dragon will be installed on the station’s Harmony module.
The spacecraft is in orbit after a successful predawn launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The on-time liftoff took place at 5:42 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is flying on its own in a preliminary orbit after separation from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage. Coming up, the Dragon’s power-generating solar arrays will deploy, a process that takes about 8 to 10 minutes.
Here are a few early photos from this morning’s liftoff.
Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on the company’s 15th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The vehicle is climbing away from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, lighting the predawn sky over Florida’s Space Coast as it blazes a trail downrange.
The vehicle will pass “max Q” about a minute and 18 seconds into the flight. Just over a minute later, the nine Merlin engines powering the rocket’s first stage will shut down and separate from the vehicle, clearing the way for the second stage’s single Merlin engine to ignite and continue the flight.
As the final minutes count down toward the 5:42 a.m. liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, there are some significant milestones clearing the way toward launch. The Falcon 9’s Merlin engines will be chilled to condition them before they come in contact with cryogenic propellants. The strongback, a gantry-like support structure at Space Launch Complex 40, will lower away from the rocket. Finally, the Eastern Range and the SpaceX launch director each will give a final approval to launch.