A 4,800-pound care package is on its way to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The company’s 13th commercial cargo mission to resupply the space station began at 10:36 a.m. EST with liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
After a successful climb into space, the Dragon spacecraft now is in orbit with its solar arrays deployed and drawing power. The rocket’s first stage flew back for a successful landing at SpaceX’s Landing Zone One at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
“This was a fantastic way to end the year for SpaceX east coast launches,” said Jessica Jensen, director, Dragon Mission Management with SpaceX. “It was a great launch.”
The Dragon spacecraft will deliver science, research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory. Science experiments include the Total and Spectral Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) that will measure the Sun’s energy input to Earth, the Space Debris Sensor (SDS) that will directly measure the orbital debris environment around the space station for two to three years, and the Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature 7 (ACE-T-7) investigation, which 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. Read more at https://go.nasa.gov/2mMUdSY.
Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture of the Dragon spacecraft will begin at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 17 on www.nasa.gov/live, with installation coverage 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 one month attached to the space station, returning to Earth in mid-January with results of previous experiments.
Dragon’s solar arrays are unfurling and the spacecraft is on course to deliver almost 4,800 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station early Sunday. Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will begin at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 17 on www.nasa.gov/live, with installation coverage set to begin at 7:30 a.m.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage engines have finished their burn and separated from the vehicle. As the second stage continues the flight, the first stage will aim for a landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
T-0, ignition and liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, setting off on the company’s 13th 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.