Countdown Continues Toward Liftoff

A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftsoffThe countdown continues toward liftoff at 4:30 p.m. EDT. Starting at about seven minutes before launch, the Falcon 9’s engines will be chilled to condition them for the super-cold oxidizer — liquid oxygen.

About three minutes prior to liftoff, the umbilical tower-like strongback support structure will be lowered away from the rocket.

At 90 seconds, the SpaceX launch director will verify “go for launch.”

With about 60 seconds remaining, the flight computer will run its prelaunch checks and the rocket’s propellant tanks will be pressurized.

The terminal stage of the countdown begins at T-minus 30 seconds.

Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Weather Remains ‘Go’

A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoff
A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoff in this file photo from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 to boost a SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station on Dec. 15, 2017, for SpaceX CRS-13.
Photo credit: NASA

Weather forecasters with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th weather squadron at Patrick Air Force Base are calling for an 80 percent chance for favorable conditions for launch. The primary launch weather concerns are flight through precipitation and cumulus clouds with the showers.

What’s on Board Dragon for SpaceX CRS-14?

Project scientists Matthew Romeyn, left, and Dr. Ye Zhang
Project scientists Matthew Romeyn, left, and Dr. Ye Zhang place seeds in Veggie Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (PONDS) units inside a laboratory at the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
Photo credit: NASA/Daniel Casper

During SpaceX’s 14th Commercial Resupply Services Mission to the International Space Station for NASA, the Dragon spacecraft is packed with more than 5,800 pounds of supplies, equipment and several science investigations for the crew aboard the station.

Among the science experiments are:

Capturing Sprites and Elves
The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) surveys severe thunderstorms in Earth’s atmosphere and upper-atmospheric lightning, or transient luminous events, from its perch on the exterior of the European Space Agency (ESA) Columbus module. These include sprites, flashes caused by electrical break-down in the mesosphere; the blue jet, a discharge from cloud tops upward into the stratosphere; and ELVES, concentric rings of emissions caused by an electromagnetic pulse in the ionosphere.

Metal Powder Fabrication
The NASA Sample Cartridge Assembly (MSL SCA-GEDS-German) experiment determines underlying scientific principles for a fabrication process known as liquid phase sintering, in microgravity and Earth-gravity conditions. On Earth, liquid phase sintering works like building a sandcastle with just-wet-enough sand. Heating a powder forms interparticle bonds and formation of a liquid phase accelerates this solidification, creating a rigid structure. But in microgravity, settling of powder grains does not occur and larger pores form, creating more porous and distorted samples than Earth-based sintering.

Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet inserts blood tubes into the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer aboard the International Space Station on Nov. 21, 2016. These blood samples are integral to the MARROW study, which seeks to understand the effects of prolonged immobility on the human body. The study’s findings will benefit people on Earth who live with reduced mobility, including seniors and bedridden patients.
Photo credits: NASA

Testing Materials in Space
The Materials International Space Station Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) provides a unique platform for testing how materials, coatings and components react in the harsh environment of space, which includes exposure to ultraviolet and ionizing radiation, atomic oxygen, charged particles, thermal cycles, electromagnetic radiation and micro-meteoroids. The testing benefits a variety of industries, including automotive, aeronautics, energy, space, and transportation.

Patching up Wounds
Wound Healing tests a patch containing an antimicrobial hydrogel that promotes healing of a wound while acting as a scaffold for regenerating tissue. Reduced fluid motion in microgravity allows more precise analysis of the hydrogel behavior and controlled release of the antibiotic from the patch. This novel patch could serve as a non-surgical treatment for military combat wounds and reduce sepsis, or systemic inflammation, usually caused by contamination of an open wound.

Drug Development in Space
Comparative Real-time Metabolic Activity Tracking for Improved Therapeutic Assessment Screening Panels examines effects of microgravity on the metabolic impact of five different therapeutic compounds, evaluating the use of autobioluminescent human tissue culture for continuous tracking of metabolic activity without destroying the sample. This investigation determines the feasibility of developing improved pharmaceuticals in microgravity using a new method to test the metabolic impacts of drug compounds. This could lead to more effective, less expensive drugs.

Read more about Science Launching on Next Resupply Mission at: https://go.nasa.gov/2Isu6rt

Falcon 9 Propellant Loading Underway for SpaceX CRS-14

A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoffA Falcon 9 rocket is being loaded with propellants in preparation for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, to boost a SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT, for its 14th commercial resupply services mission to the space station.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 is 230 feet-tall and has two-stages topped by the company’s unpiloted Dragon spacecraft. The rocket’s 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. The engines run on a combination of super-cold liquid oxygen and the fuel, RP-1 — highly refined kerosene.

Installed atop the rocket, the 20-foot tall and 12-foot diameter Dragon spacecraft is loaded with cargo bound for the 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.

Photo credit: NASA

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

Emblem for SpaceX CRS-14Good afternoon from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are being prepared for liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Liftoff is targeted for 4:30 p.m. EDT today, with an instantaneous launch window. That means the launch must take place precisely on time in order to reach the orbit of the International Space Station.

The official weather forecast from the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base calls for an 80 percent chance for favorable conditions for launch today. The primary launch weather concerns are flight through precipitation and cumulus clouds with the showers.

Today’s launch is a cross-country effort. Launch controllers here 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.

This launch blog originates from the NASA News Center, a few miles west of the launch pad, here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the premier multi-user spaceport.

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

Image credit: NASA

Launch Day Arrives for SpaceX CRS-14

A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoffA Dragon spacecraft is poised for liftoff atop a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40. The launch vehicle will boost the resupply capsule on its 14th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Dragon will deliver supplies and equipment supporting numerous science investigations for the crew working aboard the orbiting laboratory. Liftoff is scheduled for today at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Be sure to join us here at 3:55 p.m. EDT to follow this live blog-cast during the last stages of the countdown and early portions of flight. You also may follow the countdown on NASA Television (https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive) beginning at 4 p.m. EDT for updates.

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

Photo credit: NASA

NASA TV to Air Events Supporting Next Space Station Resupply Mission

A SpaceX Falcon stands ready for lift off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for lift off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in this file photo from April‎ ‎8‎, ‎2016, for SpaceX CRS-8. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Preparations continue as NASA’s commercial cargo provider, SpaceX, is getting ready to launch its 14th resupply mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT Monday, April 2.

Weather forecasters with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th weather squadron at Patrick Air Force Base call for a 80 percent chance for favorable conditions for launch. The primary launch weather concerns are flight through precipitation and cumulus clouds with the showers.

Packed with almost 5,800 pounds of research material, 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.

You may follow the prelaunch briefings and the countdown taking place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on NASA Television at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Today, April 1
2:30 p.m. – What’s on Board science briefing
4 p.m. – Prelaunch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing.

Monday, April 2
4 p.m. – Launch coverage begins for liftoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
6:30 p.m. – Post launch news conference at Kennedy with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX.

For the latest schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:
https://www.nasa.gov/content/spacex-crs-14-briefings-and-events/

Learn more about the SpaceX resupply mission at: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

NASA TV to Air Events Supporting Next Space Station Resupply Mission

The SpaceX CRS-13 Dragon cargo spacecraft is pictured attached to the International Space Station's Harmony module after it arrived on Dec. 17. 2017. Photo credit: NASA
The SpaceX CRS-13 Dragon cargo spacecraft is pictured attached to the International Space Station’s Harmony module after it arrived on Dec. 17. 2017.
Photo credit: NASA

NASA and SpaceX are preparing for the company’s 14th resupply mission to the International Space Station scheduled for liftoff at 4:30 p.m. EDT, Monday, April 2.

Packed with almost 5,800 pounds of research material, 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.

The official weather forecast from the U.S. Air Force’s 45th weather squadron at Patrick Air Force Base calls for an 80 percent chance for favorable conditions for launch. The primary launch weather concerns are flight through precipitation and cumulus clouds with the showers.

You may follow the prelaunch briefings and the countdown taking place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on NASA Television at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Sunday, April 1
2:30 p.m. EDT – What’s on Board science briefing
4 p.m. EDT – Prelaunch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing.

Monday, April 2
4 p.m. EDT – Launch coverage begins for liftoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
6:30 p.m. EDT – Post launch news conference at Kennedy with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX.

For the latest schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:
https://www.nasa.gov/content/spacex-crs-14-briefings-and-events/

Learn more about the SpaceX resupply mission at: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

Dragon Set to Deliver Supplies to International Space Station

SpaceX's Dragon cargo craft is seen during final approach to the International Space Station on Feb. 23, 2017. The commercial spacecraft carried about 5,500 pounds of experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. Space station crew members used the station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, to capture Dragon. Photo credit: NASA
SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft is seen during final approach to the International Space Station on Feb. 23, 2017. The commercial spacecraft carried about 5,500 pounds of experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. Space station crew members used the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, to capture Dragon.
Photo credit: NASA

Next Commercial Resupply Services Mission: SpaceX CRS-14
Launch Time and Date: 4:30 p.m., Monday, April 2, 2018
Lift Off: Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9, 230 feet-tall
Spacecraft: Dragon, 20 feet high, 12 feet-in diameter
Payload: Dragon will deliver cargo and material to support science investigations aboard the International Space Station.
Return to Earth: After about one month attached to the space station, Dragon will return with results of earlier experiments, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.
Payloads on Board: https://go.nasa.gov/2Isu6rt

NASA Invites Media to Upcoming Events Prior to SpaceX CRS-14

Preparations continue for the launch of the next SpaceX delivery of supplies and equipment, including science investigations, to the International Space Station. Launch currently is targeted for no earlier than 4:30 p.m. EDT April 2 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

A Dragon cargo spacecraft, previously flown on SpaceX’s eighth commercial resupply mission to the space station, will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket and includes the first stage booster previously flown on the company’s 12th resupply mission. This is the second SpaceX resupply mission for NASA using both a reused spacecraft and booster.

NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. EDT Monday, March 19, to discuss a number of science investigations and instruments included in the 5,800 pounds the Dragon will deliver to the orbiting laboratory. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on NASA’s website.

To participate in the teleconference, media must contact Stephanie Schierholz at 202-358-1100 or stephanie.schierholz@nasa.gov by 5 p.m. Friday, March 16, for dial-in information.

Reporters can still apply for credentials to cover the launch of SpaceX CRS-14 from Florida, but the deadlines to apply are next Monday and Friday. Prelaunch and launch activities will take place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the Cape. Full details and credentialing deadlines are in the media advisory.

For launch countdown coverage and more information about the mission, visit:
https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Sandra Joseph