The Falcon and Dragon

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft await liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft await liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Image credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is a two-stage rocket powered by nine of the company’s Merlin engines on the first stage, and a single Merlin engine on the second stage. These engines run on cryogenic liquid oxygen and a fuel called RP-1, a highly refined kerosene.

The rocket is topped by the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, which provides pressurized and unpressurized “trunk” space for the cargo it’s carrying to the International Space Station.

The first stage flying today has been flown before – it was used on the launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on April 18 of this year. Additionally, the Dragon launching today is making its second trip to the station; it previously flew on SpaceX CRS-9, back in July 2016.

Read more about the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft.

Weather and Countdown Update

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft await liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft await liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Photo credit: SpaceX

Launch Weather Officer Mike McAleenan of the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing briefed the launch team and the forecast remains the same: a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions for liftoff this morning, with light winds out of the southwest at 8 to 10 miles per hour and a temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here’s a timeline of today’s countdown and ascent milestones. All times are approximate.

COUNTDOWN
Hour/Min/Sec – Events
01:13:00 – SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
01:10:00 – RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading underway
00:35:00 – LOX (liquid oxygen) loading underway
00:07:00 – Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
00:01:00 – Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
00:01:00 – Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
00:00:45 – SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
00:00:03 – Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
00:00:00 – Falcon 9 liftoff

LAUNCH AND DRAGON DEPLOYMENT
Hour/Min/Sec – Events
00:01:19 – Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:45 – 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:48 – 1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:56 – 2nd stage engine starts
00:08:31 – 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO)
00:09:31 – Dragon separates from 2nd stage
00:11:00 – Dragon’s solar arrays deploy
02:20:00 – Dragon’s Guidance, Navigation and Control bay door opens

CRS-15 Launch Coverage Begins

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft await liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft await liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Image credit: NASA TV

Despite the early hour, countdown clocks are marking the time toward a 5:42 a.m. EDT 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.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing are keeping an eye on the weather across the launch area, but the forecast predicts a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions.

At Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, prelaunch activities are proceeding on schedule. Propellant loading operations are in progress.

Launch team members are stationed at consoles here at the Florida spaceport, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and at the SpaceX control center located in Hawthorne, California. Today’s launch blog comes to you from the news center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, about three miles west of the launch site.

Stay with us for more as the countdown continues.

 

SpaceX CRS-15 Set for Liftoff Early Friday

SpaceX’s 15th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station is slated to begin before dawn Friday. Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for at 5:42 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Dragon is packed with more than 5,900 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware.

The launch forecast predicts a 90 percent chance of favorable weather, according to meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing.

Join us right here on the launch blog for countdown updates beginning at 5:15 a.m.

SpaceX CRS-15 Prelaunch Events Today

The SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 on July 18, 2017, at the start of the CRS-9 mission.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 on July 18, 2017, at the start of the CRS-9 mission. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray

NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 5:42 a.m. EDT on Friday, June 29, for the launch of its 15th resupply mission to the International Space Station. Packed with more than 5,900 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict a 90 percent chance of favorable weather at launch time. Cumulus and anvil clouds are the primary weather concerns.

Coverage of the SpaceX CRS-15 mission starts today with prelaunch events on NASA Television and at www.nasa.gov/live.

  • 11 a.m.: What’s on Board science briefing highlighting the mission’s research
  • 12:45 p.m.: Prelaunch news conference with representatives from NASA’s ISS Program, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing

Follow the countdown starting at 5:15 a.m. Friday on NASA Television, www.nasa.gov/live and on NASA’s SpaceX Launch Blog.

Launch Weather 90 Percent ‘Go’ on Friday

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting a 90 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft. Launch of the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for NASA is targeted for no earlier than Friday, Dec. 15 at 10:36 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On launch day, the primary weather concern is for thick clouds.

SpaceX CRS-13 Update: Launch No Earlier Than Dec. 15

NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than 10:36 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 15, for the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX is taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to detection of particles in the second stage fuel system. The next launch opportunity would be no earlier than late December.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff on Friday.

A Dragon spacecraft will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Dragon is now scheduled to arrive at the space station on Sunday, Dec. 17.

On Sunday, Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are also scheduled to launch at 2:21 a.m. (1:21 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.

NASA Television coverage for launch and arrival activities are as follows:

Friday, Dec. 15

  • 10 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
  • 12 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX

Sunday, Dec. 17

  • 1:15 a.m. – Soyuz MS-07 launch coverage begins
  • 4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture coverage begins
  • 7:30 a.m. – Installation coverage begins

Watch live on NASA Television and the agency’s website: www.nasa.gov/live.

Launch No Earlier Than Dec. 13

NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than 11:24 a.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 13th, for the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX requested additional time for prelaunch ground systems checks.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting 90 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff.

A Dragon spacecraft will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Dragon is now scheduled to arrive at the space station on Saturday, Dec. 16.

NASA Television coverage for launch is as follows:

Wednesday, Dec. 13

  • 10:45 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
  • 12:30 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX

Saturday, Dec. 16

  • 4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture
  • 7:30 a.m. – Installation coverage

Join us here, on NASA Television or at www.nasa.gov/live for updates from the countdown.

L-1 Day Briefings Scheduled for SpaceX CRS-13

Today marks “L-1” – launch minus one day – for tomorrow’s scheduled launch of SpaceX’s 13th commercial resupply to the International Space Station. Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is planned for 11:46 a.m. EST Tuesday from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting a 90 percent chance of favorable weather at launch time, with liftoff winds the primary concern.

Mission coverage begins today with two news briefings. Both will be broadcast on NASA Television.

Live coverage from the countdown begins Tuesday morning at 11:15 a.m. here on NASA’s Launch Blog and on NASA Television.