The rocket awaiting launch late this evening is the SpaceX Falcon 9, a two-stage vehicle topped by the company’s uncrewed cargo Dragon spacecraft. This will be the Falcon 9 rocket’s second flight. It previously flew on CRS-19 in December 2019. It is the Dragon cargo spacecraft’s third trip to space, having flown previously in support of CRS-10 and CRS-16 missions. The Falcon 9 first stage is powered by nine Merlin engines that ignite at T-0. Its second stage has a single Merlin engine that takes over after separation of the first stage. Merlin engines, also built by SpaceX, run on a combination of cryogenic liquid oxygen and a refined kerosene fuel called RP-1.
Installed atop the rocket, the Dragon cargo spacecraft will deliver about 4,500 pounds of science investigations and cargo to the International Space Station. The Dragon offers a pressurized section as well as an unpressurized “trunk” section for additional cargo. Also located in the trunk are the spacecraft’s power-producing solar arrays, which will open shortly after Dragon arrives in orbit.
This is SpaceX’s 20th and final contract resupply mission under the first Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. It is also the last SpaceX CRS mission to use the Dragon 1 vehicle. Future missions under the CRS-2 contract will utilize the Dragon 2 spacecraft and will return to Earth with a water landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo spacecraft is targeted for 11:50 p.m. EST this evening. Countdown activities are in progress at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, where the rocket awaits launch on the company’s 20th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.
CRS-20 is the second U.S. resupply mission to the space station this year, and the first resupply mission for SpaceX this year.
Be sure to join us here on the blog and on NASA Television beginning at 11:30 p.m. EST for updates from the countdown. Learn more about the SpaceX CRS-20 mission by going to the mission home page at http://www.nasa.gov/spacex.
A briefing about the science payloads for delivery on the SpaceX CRS-20 mission to the International Space Station is set for today at 3 p.m. Tune in to NASA Television. Participants include:
Jennifer Buchli, deputy chief scientist for NASA’s International Space Station Program Science Office, who will share an overview of the research being conducted aboard the space station and how it benefits exploration and humanity.
Michael Roberts, interim chief scientist for the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, who will discuss the lab’s work in advancing science in space, and in developing partnerships that drive industrialization through microgravity research.
Bill Corely, director of business development for Airbus Defence and Space, and Bartolomeo Project Manager Andreas Schutte, who will discuss Bartolomeo, a new commercial research platform from ESA (European Space Agency), set to be installed on the exterior of the orbiting laboratory.
Chunhui Xu, associate professor of Emory University School of Medicine, and principle investigator for the Generation of Cardiomyocytes from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (MVP Cell-03) experiment, who will discuss the study on the generation of specialized heart muscle cells for use in research and clinical applications.
Paul Patton, senior manager, front end innovation and regulatory for Delta Faucet, and Garry Marty, principal product engineer for Delta Faucet, who will discuss the Droplet Formation Study, which evaluates water droplet formation and water flow of Delta Faucet’s H2Okinetic showerhead technology. This research in microgravity could help improve technology, creating better performance and improved user experience while conserving water and energy.
Aaron Beeler, professor of medicinal chemistry at Boston University, and principal investigator, and co-investigator Matthew Mailloux of Flow Chemistry Platform for Synthetic Reactions on ISS, which will study the effects of microgravity on chemical reactions, as a first step toward on-demand chemical synthesis on the space station.
Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict a 60 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the company’s 20th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for Friday, March 6 at 11:50 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Skies will clear through the day Friday, and winds will become gusty out of the north as a high-pressure area moves east. The primary weather concern for launch is liftoff winds with the tight pressure gradient behind the front.
SpaceX is now targeting March 6 at 11:50 p.m. EST for launch of its 20th commercial resupply services mission (CRS-20) to the International Space Station. During standard preflight inspections, SpaceX identified a valve motor on the second stage engine behaving not as expected and determined the safest and most expedient path to launch is to utilize the next second stage in line that was already at the Cape and ready for flight. The new second stage has already completed the same preflight inspections with all hardware behaving as expected. The updated target launch date provides the time required to complete preflight integration and final checkouts.
The cargo Dragon will lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying more than 5,600 pounds of science investigations and cargo to the station, including research on particle foam manufacturing, water droplet formation, the human intestine and other cutting-edge investigations.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for its first crew launch from American soil has arrived at the launch site. NASA and SpaceX are preparing for the company’s first flight test with astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from historic Launch Complex 39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft now will undergo final testing and prelaunch processing in a SpaceX facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Watch a video of the SpaceX Crew Dragon for Demo-2 as it underwent electromagnetic interference testing in the EMI chamber at the SpaceX factory in Hawthorne prior to its arrival at the launch site in Florida.
A nearly 6,000-pound care package is on its way to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The company’s 16th commercial cargo mission to resupply the space station began at 1:16 p.m. EST on Dec. 5, 2018, with liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
“It was an incredible launch,” said Joel Montalbano, deputy ISS program manager, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “This was the fourth launch in three weeks to the space station.”
After a successful climb into space, the Dragon spacecraft now is in orbit with its solar arrays deployed and drawing power.
“This is a great day. We had a beautiful launch.” said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Build and Flight Reliability at SpaceX.
The Dragon spacecraft will deliver science, supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory. Science experiments include the Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3) and the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI).
RRM3 demonstrates the storage and transfer of cryogenic fluid, which is critical for propulsion and life support systems in space. While the Robotic Refueling Mission Phase 2 (RRM2) demonstrated tasks leading up to coolant replenishment, the actual transfer of cryogenic fluid in orbit will be carried out for the first time with RRM3, using liquid methane.
GEDI will make high-quality laser ranging observations of Earth’s forests and topography required to advance the understanding of important carbon and water cycling processes, biodiversity and habitat. GEDI will be mounted on the Japanese Experiment Module’s Exposed Facility and will provide the first high-resolution observations of forest vertical structure at a global scale.
Also, the Growth of Large, Perfect Protein Crystals for Neutron Crystallography (Perfect Crystals) crystallizes an antioxidant protein found inside the human body to analyze its shape. This research may shed light on how the protein helps protect the human body from ionizing radiation and oxidants created as a byproduct of metabolism. For best results, analysis requires large crystals with minimal imperfections, which are more easily produced in the microgravity environment of the space station.
Hardware for the station includes Orbital Replacement Unit #2, an additional spare required for sufficient gas analysis capability; an external high definition camera assembly; two oxygen tanks necessary to support upcoming spacewalks as well as nominal operations; a Microgravity Science Glovebox video drawer to support further payload operations in orbit; and a rodent research transport assembly and support hardware to support operations for Rodent Research-8.
Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec 8. Installation coverage is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. Astronauts aboard the station will capture the Dragon using the space station’s robotic arm and then install it on the station’s Harmony module. The Dragon spacecraft will spend about five weeks attached to the space station, returning to Earth in January 2019, with more than 4,000 pounds of research, hardware and crew supplies.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station, after launching on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at 1:15 p.m. EST on Dec. 5, 2018. A postlaunch press conference will take place at 3:15 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Joel Montalbano, deputy ISS program manager, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Build and Flight Reliability at SpaceX
Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture of the Dragon will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Installation coverage is set to begin at 7:30 a.m.
The Dragon spacecraft will spend about five weeks attached to the space station. Dragon will remain at the space station until Jan 2019 when the spacecraft will return to Earth with research and return cargo.