SpaceX CRS-17 Launch Now Scheduled for April 30

A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is now scheduled to launch at 4:22 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 30, 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.

SpaceX Dragon connected to space station module
A SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured attached to the International Space Station’s Harmony module. Credit: NASA

SpaceX will take advantage of the additional time to perform a static fire test and pre-flight checkouts. Falcon 9 and Dragon are on track to be flight ready for an earlier launch attempt, however, April 30 is the most viable date for both NASA and SpaceX due to station and orbital mechanics constraints.

NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. Monday, April 22, to discuss select science investigations the Dragon will deliver to the astronauts living and working aboard the orbiting laboratory. NASA will stream audio from the discussion at http://www.nasa.gov/live.

SpaceX CRS-17 Targets April 26 Launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:30 p.m. EDT on April 2, 2018.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 2, 2018, carrying the SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft on the company’s 14th Commercial Resupply Services contract mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry

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.

SpaceX Dragon Heads to Space Station After Successful Launch

The two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the SpaceX’s Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station.
The two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the SpaceX’s Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 1:16 p.m. EST, Dec. 5, 2018. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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.

For updates during the mission, visit https://www.nasa.gov/commercialresupply.

Tune in for SpaceX CRS-16 Postlaunch Press Conference

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 1:15 p.m. EST on Dec. 5, 2018.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 1:15 p.m. EST on Dec. 5, 2018. Photo credit: NASA

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.

Participants are:
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.

Liftoff! SpaceX CRS-16 is Underway

The SpaceX Falcon 9 with the Dragon spacecraft lifts off at 1:16 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 with the Dragon spacecraft lifts off at 1:16 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Dan Casper

T-0, ignition and liftoff at 1:16 p.m. EST of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, setting off on the company’s 16th mission to deliver supplies, equipment and science materials to the International Space Station. The vehicle is quickly climbing away from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Ten Minutes Until Launch

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

The countdown continues toward liftoff at 1:16 p.m. EST, an instantaneous launch window,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, the SpaceX Launch Director 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.

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

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

Hello and good afternoon from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It’s a beautiful, sunny day on the space coast. 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 1:16 p.m. EST today, with an instantaneous launch window.

The Falcon 9 rocket went vertical this morning and weather is 90 percent favorable at launch time. Dragon’s internal countdown is running and propellant loading is underway.

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 CRS-16: What’s on Board?

The Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3), at left, and the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) are in the SpaceX Dragon unpressurized trunk.
The Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3), at left, and the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) are in the SpaceX Dragon unpressurized trunk. They will be delivered to the International Space Station on SpaceX’s 16th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. Launch is scheduled for Dec. 5, 2018, at 1:16 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA

During SpaceX’s 16th Commercial Resupply Services Mission to the International Space Station for NASA, the Dragon spacecraft will deliver about 5,600 pounds of supplies, equipment and numerous science investigations to the crew aboard the station. Among the science experiments are:

  • Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3) is an exterior payload on the International Space Station, RRM3 will demonstrate innovative methods to store and replenish cryogenic fluids in space. These fluids have chemical and physical properties that make them useful for spaceflight, but storing them is tricky because they boil off over time. In addition to replenishing cryogenic fluid, RRM3 will store it for six months with zero boil off to demonstrate the efficient use of these important consumables. RRM3 builds on two previous robotic refueling technology demonstrations–RRM1 and RRM2. Not only could these technologies make refueling spacecraft in orbit possible, but the resulting capabilities also could be applied to exploration missions to the Moon and Mars. Read more at https://sspd.gsfc.nasa.gov/RRM3.html.
  • The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) provides high-quality laser ranging observations of the Earth’s forests and topography required to advance the understanding of important carbon and water cycling processes, biodiversity, and habitat. GEDI is mounted on the Japanese Experiment Module’s Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) and provides the first high-resolution observations of forest vertical structure at a global scale. These observations quantify the aboveground carbon stored in vegetation and changes that result from vegetation disturbance and recovery, the potential for forests to sequester carbon in the future, and habitat structure and its influence on habitat quality and biodiversity.
  • SEOPS’ SlingShot is a small satellite deployment system delivered by Dragon that fits inside the Cygnus spacecraft’s Passive Common Berthing Mechanism. The space station crew will install the SlingShot deployer and controller prior to Cygnus’s unberthing and departure. SlingShot can accommodate up to 18 CubeSat satellites of any format. After Cygnus is released from the station, the spacecraft navigates to an altitude of 280 – 310 miles (an orbit higher than the space station) to deploy the satellites.