CRS-18 Gearing Up for Launch: Fifteen Minutes and Counting

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for lift off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida for the company's 18th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-18) mission to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for 6:24 p.m. EDT.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for lift off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida for the company’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-18) mission to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for 6:24 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA

Launch preparations for SpaceX’s CRS-18 mission are well underway as SpaceX proceeds to count down to a 6:24 p.m. EDT liftoff, just fifteen minutes away. Fueling of the Falcon 9 rocket is underway.

Weather continues to be a cause for concern, as meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are now predicting a 10% chance of favorable weather conditions for liftoff. NASA TV and the agency’s website continue to provide live countdown coverage.

CRS-18 will deliver about 5,000 pounds of supplies and critical materials that will directly support dozens of science and research investigations that will take place during Expedition 60 and beyond.

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

Live Countdown Coverage Begins for SpaceX’s 18th Resupply Services Mission to Station

The mission patch for SpaceX's 18th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station, scheduled to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 24, 2019, at 6:24 p.m. EDT
SpaceX’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-18) mission to the International Space Station is scheduled to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 24, 2019, at 6:24 p.m. EDT.

Hello and welcome from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida! A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoff at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 for the company’s CRS-18 mission to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for 6:24 p.m. EDT tonight, with an instantaneous launch window. Follow along on NASA Television for the live broadcast.

Launch controllers here at Kennedy will be working in conjunction with teams at SpaceX’s mission control center in Hawthorne, California, for tonight’s launch. The Dragon spacecraft – delivering critical supplies, equipment and material for multiple science and research investigations – will arrive at the space station two days after launch, July 26.

When it arrives, NASA astronaut Nick Hague will robotically capture Dragon, with NASA astronaut Christina Koch serving as his backup. The agency’s Andrew Morgan, also at the space station, will monitor telemetry during Dragon’s approach. After the spacecraft capture, mission control in Houston will send ground commands for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module.

Weather a Concern for Today’s CRS-18 Launch

Bill Spetch, deputy manager of the International Space Station Transportation Integration Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, speaks during the prelaunch news conference for SpaceX's 18th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-18) mission to the station on July 24, 2019, at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At right is Jessica Jensen, director of Dragon mission management at SpaceX.
Bill Spetch, deputy manager of the International Space Station Transportation Integration Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, speaks during the prelaunch news conference for SpaceX’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-18) mission to the station on July 24, 2019, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At right is Jessica Jensen, director of Dragon mission management at SpaceX. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, topped with the company’s cargo Dragon spacecraft, stands ready for launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida for the company’s CRS-18 mission to the International Space Station. However, one thing to keep an eye on for this evening’s launch is the weather.

Will Ulrich, launch weather officer with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing, discusses the liftoff weather forecast during the prelaunch news conference for SpaceX’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-18) mission to the International Space Station, July 24, 2019, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

“I notice plenty of humidity out there, but another thing we have to deal with is the direction of the steering flow, or where the winds in the atmosphere are going to steer those afternoon showers and thunderstorms,” said Will Ulrich, launch weather officer for the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing, in this morning’s prelaunch news conference. “Today, we have winds that will concentrate the majority of today’s showers and thunderstorms near the spaceport.”

The launch forecast currently remains 30% “go” with the primary weather concern being cumulus clouds and their associated anvil clouds, as well as lightning. “I wish I had some better news, but hopefully we can find a gap in today’s showers and thunderstorms,” said Ulrich.

Live launch coverage will begin at 6 p.m. EDT on NASA TV and the agency’s website, as well as here on the blog. Previously flown on CRS-6 and CRS-13, this evening’s launch will be the first time SpaceX is flying Dragon for a third time.

CRS-18 will deliver about 5,000 pounds of science investigations, supplies and equipment to the orbiting laboratory. Learn more about the mission at: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/spacex_crs-18_mision_overview_high_res.pdf

Tune in for SpaceX CRS-18 Prelaunch News Conference

Tune in to NASA TV and the agency’s website at 10 a.m. EDT to watch the prelaunch news conference – taking place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – and hear from officials with the International Space Station Program Science Office, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing. Join us here on the blog tonight and on NASA TV for updates and live launch coverage beginning at 6 p.m. EDT.

Launch of SpaceX’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the station is scheduled for today, July 24, at 6:24 p.m. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying the Dragon spacecraft, which will deliver supplies, equipment and material that will directly support multiple science and research investigations taking place during Expedition 60 and beyond.

L-2 Weather Forecast for Wednesday’s CRS-18 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. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict a 30% chance of favorable weather for SpaceX’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-18) mission to the International Space Station. Primary weather concerns are cumulus clouds and their associated anvil clouds, as well as lightning.

The Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 6:24 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 24. The company’s Dragon spacecraft will deliver a number of science investigations, supplies and equipment to the station, including the International Docking Adapter-3 – a new docking adapter that will enable future spacecraft built under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to autonomously attach to station.

Launch day will begin with a prelaunch news conference at 10 a.m. with representatives from the International Space Station Program Science Office, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing. Watch live on NASA TV or the agency’s website.

SpaceX CRS-18 Launch Now Targeted for Wednesday, July 24

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 6:24 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 24, for the company’s 18th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. The Dragon spacecraft will launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and arrive at the space station on Friday, July 26, filled with about 5,500 pounds of science, cargo and crew supplies for the microgravity laboratory.

SpaceX Targeting Sunday, July 21, at 7:35 p.m. for CRS-18 Launch

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

A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 7:35 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 21, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This will be SpaceX’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services contract mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

Launch on July 21 results in an arrival at the space station for a robotic capture by Expedition 60 crew members Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA on Tuesday, July 23, at 7 a.m. EDT for about a month-long stay.

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

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Successfully Launches STP-2

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at 2:30 a.m. EDT on June 25, 2019, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at 2:30 a.m. EDT on June 25, 2019, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on June 25, 2019, at 2:30 a.m. EDT for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission. Twenty four satellites were on board, including four NASA payloads:

  • Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment (E-TBEx) – twin cube satellites (CubeSats) that will measure the disruption of radio signals from natural-forming bubbles in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Understanding these disruptions and how to overcome them ultimately will improve the reliability of radio and GPS signals, which we rely on so heavily.
  • Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) – a technology demonstration that aims to change the way we navigate our spacecraft by making the spacecraft more autonomous.
  • Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) – a “green” alternative to hydrazine, a highly toxic propellant currently used. If successful, this low-toxicity fuel and compatible propulsion system could replace hydrazine in future spacecraft and ease handling concerns on Earth.
  • Space Environment Testbeds (SET) – studies how to protect satellites in space by characterizing the harsh space environment near Earth and how that affects the spacecraft and its instruments. Understanding this can be used to improve design and engineering in order to further protect the spacecraft from harmful radiation derived from the Sun.

Each of NASA’s four payloads deployed successfully. For a full recap of this morning’s launch, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-technology-missions-launch-on-spacex-falcon-heavy

 

NASA’s Space Environment Testbeds Deploys

A rendering of NASA's Space Environment Testbeds (SET), one of four agency payloads launching on the Department of Defense's Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission.
A rendering of NASA’s Space Environment Testbeds (SET), one of four agency payloads launching on the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission. Photo credit: NASA

NASA’s final payload aboard STP-2, the Space Environment Testbeds (SET), has successfully deployed at 6:04 a.m. EDT. These instruments, hosted on the Air Force Research Lab’s Demonstration and Science Experiments spacecraft, also the final spacecraft to deploy on STP-2, will study how to protect satellites in space by characterizing the harsh space environment near Earth and how that affects a spacecraft and its instruments. Understanding this can be used to improve design and engineering in order to further protect the spacecraft from harmful radiation derived from the Sun. For more information, visit the SET mission overview site.

NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission Deploys

A rendering of NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM), one of four agency payloads launching on the Department of Defense's Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission.
A rendering of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM), one of four agency payloads launching on the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission. Photo credit: NASA

NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) has successfully deployed at 3:57 a.m. EDT. GPIM will test a “green” alternative to hydrazine, a highly toxic propellant currently used by spacecraft, as well as a new propulsion system. If successful, this low toxicity fuel and system could replace hydrazine in future missions and ease handling during pre-launch processing.

The final NASA payload aboard the Space Test Program-2, hosted by the Air Force Research Lab’s Demonstration and Space Experiments spacecraft, will deploy in about two hours.

For more information on GPIM, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/green/overview.html