Ten Minutes Until Launch

SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft on the launch pad.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are ready for launch on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA

The countdown continues toward liftoff at 10:36 a.m. EST, 10 minutes from now. During this time, the Falcon 9’s engines will be chilled to condition them for launch, the flight computer will run its prelaunch checks and the rocket’s propellant tanks will be brought to flight pressure. Finally, SpaceX Launch Director John Muratore will verify “go for launch.”

About three minutes prior to launch, the gantry-like strongback support structure will be lowered away from the rocket. The terminal countdown begins at T-30 seconds.

What’s on Board?

Photographic documentation of a Micro Meteor Orbital Debris strike one of the window’s within the space station’s Cupola.
Photographic documentation of a Micro Meteor Orbital Debris strike one of the window’s within the space station’s Cupola. The Space Debris Sensor will measure the orbital debris environment for two to three years to provide impact detection and recording. Credits: NASA

During SpaceX’s 13th Commercial Resupply Services Mission to the International Space Station for NASA, the Dragon spacecraft will deliver nearly 4,800 pounds of supplies, equipment and several science investigations to the crew aboard the station. Among the science experiments are:

  • Total and Spectral Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) will measure the Sun’s energy input to Earth. It will measure the full spectrum of sunlight and the individual wavelengths to evaluate how the Sun affects Earth’s atmosphere. TSIS-1 will see more than 1,000 wavelength bands from 200 to 2400 nanometers. The visible of the spectrum the human eye sees goes from about 390 nanometers (blue) to 700 nanometers (red). A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
  • Made in Space Fiber Optics is U.S. National Lab investigation sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). The Optical Fiber Production in Microgravity that will demonstrate the benefits of manufacturing fiber optic filaments in a microgravity environment. Results from this investigation could lead to the production of higher-quality fiber optic products both in space and on the Earth.
  • Space Debris Sensor (SDS) will directly measure the orbital debris environment around the space station for two to three years. Mounted on the exterior of the station, the one square meter sensor uses dual-layer thin films, an acoustic sensor system, a resistive grid sensor system and a sensored backstop to provide near-real-time impact detection and recording. Research from this investigation could help lower the risk to human life and critical hardware by orbital debris.
  • Advanced Colloids Experiment- Temperature 7 (ACE-T-7) investigation involves the design and assembly of 3-D structures from small particles suspended in a fluid medium, structures that are vital to the design of advanced optical materials and electronic devices. Future space exploration may use self-assembly and self-replication to make materials and devices that can repair themselves on long-duration missions.

Read more at https://go.nasa.gov/2mMUdSY.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Set to Launch Dragon Spacecraft to the International Space Station

SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft on pad 40 at CCAFS.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA

Good morning from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft stand ready for liftoff at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch is targeted for 10:36 a.m. EST today, with an instantaneous launch window. This is SpaceX’s first launch from Pad 40 in 2017. The Falcon 9 rocket went vertical this morning and weather is 90 percent favorable for launch.

Today’s launch is a cross-country effort. Launch controllers at the Florida spaceport are working in concert with teams at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and SpaceX’s control center in Hawthorne, California. The launch blog originates from the NASA News Center here at Kennedy, a few miles west of the launch complex.

There’s more to come, so stay with us.

SpaceX Falcon and Dragon Poised for Launch

SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft on pad 40 at CCAFS.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft stand ready for launch on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA

The rocket awaiting launch this morning is the SpaceX Falcon 9, a two-stage vehicle topped by the company’s uncrewed Dragon spacecraft. 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 spacecraft is loaded with cargo bound for 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.

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

Launch Day Arrives for SpaceX CRS-13

SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft are on Space Launch Complex 40 at CCAFS in Florida.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft is on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA

Liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is on schedule for 10:36 a.m. EST. 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 13th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.

Be sure to join us here on the blog and on NASA Television at 10 a.m. for updates from the countdown.

SpaceX CRS-13 Launch Set For No Earlier Than Dec. 12

NASA and our commercial cargo provider SpaceX are targeting no earlier than Dec. 12 at 11:46 a.m. EST for their 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. This new launch date takes into account pad readiness, requirements for science payloads, space station crew availability, and orbital mechanics. Carrying about 4,800 pounds of cargo including critical science and research, the Dragon spacecraft will spend a month attached to the space station.

NASA Television to Air Launch of Next Space Station Resupply Mission

NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting its 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for no earlier than 1:20 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 8. Packed with almost 4,800 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 in Florida.

For a full rundown of SpaceX CRS-13 briefings and events, visit https://www.nasa.gov/content/spacex-crs-13-briefings-and-events.

White House Kitchen Garden Includes Veg-03 Cabbage Seedlings

First Lady Michelle Obama, holds up NASA Veggie stickers while posing with Brad Carpenter, NASA chief scientist, Space Life and Physical Sciences, left; NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, second left; NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, second right; and Gioia Massa, science team lead, Veggie project, right.
First Lady Michelle Obama, holds up NASA Veggie stickers while posing with Brad Carpenter, NASA chief scientist, Space Life and Physical Sciences, left; NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, second left; NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, second right; and Gioia Massa, science team lead, Veggie project, right. Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Space-age plants are growing in first lady Michelle Obama’s White House Kitchen Garden. The seeds, prepared at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, are from the same lot of ‘Tokyo Bekana’ Chinese cabbage seeds that are part of the Veg-03 experiment that will be carried to the International Space Station in the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft during its eighth Commercial Resupply Services mission.

The first lady joined students from across the country to plant the seedlings. Also joining her were NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, and astronaut Cady Coleman. Gioia Massa, NASA Veg-03 science team lead at Kennedy, also helped plant the seedlings with the kids.

Read the full story here.