The rocket awaiting launch late this evening is the SpaceX Falcon 9, a two-stage vehicle topped by the company’s uncrewed cargo Dragon spacecraft. This will be the Falcon 9 rocket’s second flight. It previously flew on CRS-19 in December 2019. It is the Dragon cargo spacecraft’s third trip to space, having flown previously in support of CRS-10 and CRS-16 missions. 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 cargo spacecraft will deliver about 4,500 pounds of science investigations and cargo to 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.
This is SpaceX’s 20th and final contract resupply mission under the first Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. It is also the last SpaceX CRS mission to use the Dragon 1 vehicle. Future missions under the CRS-2 contract will utilize the Dragon 2 spacecraft and will return to Earth with a water landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
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.
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.
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 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.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for its first crew launch from American soil has arrived at the launch site. NASA and SpaceX are preparing for the company’s first flight test with astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from historic Launch Complex 39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft now will undergo final testing and prelaunch processing in a SpaceX facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Watch a video of the SpaceX Crew Dragon for Demo-2 as it underwent electromagnetic interference testing in the EMI chamber at the SpaceX factory in Hawthorne prior to its arrival at the launch site in Florida.
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.”
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’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.