Launch Day Arrives for SpaceX CRS-20

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo spacecraft are on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo spacecraft are on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, awaiting launch on the company’s 20th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for 11:50 p.m. EST tonight, March 6. Photo credit: NASA

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.

SpaceX CRS-20 Prelaunch News Conference

SpaceX CRS-20 mission patch.A prelaunch news conference for SpaceX’s 20th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA to the International Space Station is set for 4 p.m. EST today.

Participants include:

  • Joel Montalbano, manager for International Space Station Program
  • Jennifer Buchli, deputy chief scientist for International Space Station Program
  • Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability at SpaceX
  • Mike McAleenan, launch weather officer, 45th Space Wing, U.S. Air Force

Watch the news conference on NASA Television.

NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 11:50 p.m. EST tonight, March 6, for the launch of resupply mission to the space station.

Follow the launch countdown tonight beginning at 11:30 p.m. on NASA TV and the launch blog. To learn more about the SpaceX CRS-20 mission, visit the mission homepage at http://www.nasa.gov/spacex.

“What’s on Board” Briefing for SpaceX CRS-20 Mission

Airbus workers unpack the Bartolomeo platform in the Space Station Processing Facility high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 30, 2020.
Airbus workers unpack the Bartolomeo platform in the Space Station Processing Facility high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 30, 2020. Bartolomeo was manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space. The platform will be delivered to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s 20th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-20) mission for the agency. The platform will attach to the exterior of the space station’s European Columbus Module. Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

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.

Weather Forecast Favorable for SpaceX CRS-20 Launch

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon cargo module lifts off Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 5, 2019, at 12:29 p.m. EST. It was SpaceX’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-19) mission for NASA to the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon cargo module lifts off Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 5, 2019, at 12:29 p.m. EST. It was SpaceX’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-19) mission for NASA to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray/Tim Terry/Kevin O’Connell

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 CRS-20 Launch Targeted for March 6

SpaceX is targeting 11:50 p.m. EST Friday, March 6, 2020 for the launch of its 20th resupply mission to the International Space Station.
A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 29, 2018. SpaceX is targeting 11:50 p.m. EST Friday, March 6, 2020 for the launch of its 20th resupply mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

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.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

SpaceX Successfully Launches 19th Resupply Services Mission to Space Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida at 12:29 p.m. EST on Dec. 5, 2019, for the company’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-19) mission to the International Space Station.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida at 12:29 p.m. EST on Dec. 5, 2019, for the company’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-19) mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

Critical supplies, equipment and material are on their way to the International Space Station following the successful launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The company’s uncrewed Dragon spacecraft lifted off atop the Falcon 9 at 12:29 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 on Dec. 5, 2019, for the 19th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-19) mission.

“It’s always great when we can get a new vehicle on its way to the space station, so we’re very excited,” said Kenny Todd, space station operations integration manager. “We’re looking forward to getting the Dragon on board here in the next couple of days.”

The mission patch for SpaceX's 19th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station.
SpaceX’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 5, 2019, at 12:29 p.m. EST.

On this spacecraft’s third trip to the space station, Dragon will deliver supplies and material that will directly support dozens of science and research investigations taking place during Expeditions 61 and 62. The spacecraft also is carrying the Japanese government’s Hyperspectral Imager Suite (HISUI), a next-generation, hyperspectral Earth imaging system.

A little over two minutes after launch, the rocket’s first stage successfully separated from the vehicle, returning to land on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean. Then, Dragon separated from the Falcon 9 completely. The spacecraft is now in orbit with its solar arrays deployed, which will help power it on its solo journey to the orbiting laboratory.

“We had a beautiful launch off Space Launch Complex 40 today,” said SpaceX’s Andy Tran. “All around it’s been a successful mission so far.”

Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the space station Dec. 8, with live coverage on spacecraft rendezvous and capture beginning at 4:30 a.m. EST on NASA TV and the agency’s website. Upon its arrival, European Space Agency’s Luca Parmitano, Expedition 61 commander, will grapple the spacecraft, with NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan acting as his backup. The agency’s Jessica Meir will monitor telemetry during Dragon’s approach.

Following spacecraft capture – scheduled for approximately 6 a.m. – mission control in Houston will send commands to the station’s robotic arm to rotate and install Dragon to the Earth-facing side of the space station’s Harmony module. Coverage of the robotic installation will begin at 8 a.m. EST. Dragon will remain at the orbiting laboratory for about a month before returning to Earth with more than 3,800 pounds of research and return cargo. Upon its arrival, the spacecraft will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.

Dragon Deploys its Solar Arrays

Dragon’s solar arrays deploy following spacecraft separation from the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket on the company’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station on Dec. 5, 2019.
Dragon’s solar arrays deploy following spacecraft separation from the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket on SpaceX’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station on Dec. 5, 2019. Photo credit: NASA

Dragon’s solar arrays have deployed to help power the spacecraft for its voyage to the International Space Station. Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Sunday, Dec. 8. Expedition 61 crewmembers will capture the spacecraft at approximately 6 a.m. EST. Live coverage of Dragon rendezvous, grapple and attaching to the station will begin at 4:30 a.m. on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

After Dragon is captured, ground controllers in Houston will send commands to the station’s arm to rotate and install the spacecraft to the Earth-facing port on the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module.

First Stage Lands!

The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lands on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean following launch of the company's 19th Commercial Resupply Services Mission to the International Space Station on Dec. 5, 2019.
The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lands on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean following launch of the company’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services Mission to the International Space Station on Dec. 5, 2019. The rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket has successfully landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Coming up next, the Dragon spacecraft will separate from the rocket and unfold its solar arrays for its solo journey to the International Space Station.

Main Engine Cutoff and First Stage Separation

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s nine first-stage Merlin engines have finished their burn and the first stage has separated from the vehicle. As the second stage continues carrying Dragon on its journey, the first stage will attempt landing on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean – that landing coming up in just a few minutes.