SpaceX CRS-16: What’s on Board?

The Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3), at left, and the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) are in the SpaceX Dragon unpressurized trunk.
The Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3), at left, and the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) are in the SpaceX Dragon unpressurized trunk. They will be delivered to the International Space Station on SpaceX’s 16th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. Launch is scheduled for Dec. 5, 2018, at 1:16 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA

During SpaceX’s 16th Commercial Resupply Services Mission to the International Space Station for NASA, the Dragon spacecraft will deliver about 5,600 pounds of supplies, equipment and numerous science investigations to the crew aboard the station. Among the science experiments are:

  • Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3) is an exterior payload on the International Space Station, RRM3 will demonstrate innovative methods to store and replenish cryogenic fluids in space. These fluids have chemical and physical properties that make them useful for spaceflight, but storing them is tricky because they boil off over time. In addition to replenishing cryogenic fluid, RRM3 will store it for six months with zero boil off to demonstrate the efficient use of these important consumables. RRM3 builds on two previous robotic refueling technology demonstrations–RRM1 and RRM2. Not only could these technologies make refueling spacecraft in orbit possible, but the resulting capabilities also could be applied to exploration missions to the Moon and Mars. Read more at https://sspd.gsfc.nasa.gov/RRM3.html.
  • The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) provides high-quality laser ranging observations of the Earth’s forests and topography required to advance the understanding of important carbon and water cycling processes, biodiversity, and habitat. GEDI is mounted on the Japanese Experiment Module’s Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) and provides the first high-resolution observations of forest vertical structure at a global scale. These observations quantify the aboveground carbon stored in vegetation and changes that result from vegetation disturbance and recovery, the potential for forests to sequester carbon in the future, and habitat structure and its influence on habitat quality and biodiversity.
  • SEOPS’ SlingShot is a small satellite deployment system delivered by Dragon that fits inside the Cygnus spacecraft’s Passive Common Berthing Mechanism. The space station crew will install the SlingShot deployer and controller prior to Cygnus’s unberthing and departure. SlingShot can accommodate up to 18 CubeSat satellites of any format. After Cygnus is released from the station, the spacecraft navigates to an altitude of 280 – 310 miles (an orbit higher than the space station) to deploy the satellites.

SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon Poised for Launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars upward after lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 2, 2018, at 4:30 p.m. EDT, carrying the SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft. On its 14th commercial resupply services mission for NASA, Dragon delivered supplies, equipment and new science experiments for technology research to the space station.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars upward after lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 2, 2018, at 4:30 p.m. EDT, carrying the SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft. On its 14th commercial resupply services mission for NASA, Dragon delivered supplies, equipment and new science experiments for technology research to the space station.

The rocket awaiting launch this afternoon is the SpaceX Falcon 9, a two-stage vehicle topped by the company’s uncrewed Dragon spacecraft. The Falcon 9 first stage, a new booster for this mission, 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, last used for SpaceX CRS-10 in February 2017, 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.

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

Launch Day Arrives for SpaceX CRS-16

SpaceX CRS-16 Mission Patch.Liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is targeted for 1:16 p.m. EST today. 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 16th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.

CRS-16 is the sixth U.S. resupply mission to the space station, and the fourth resupply mission for SpaceX this year.

Be sure to join us here on the blog and on NASA Television beginning at 12:45 p.m. for updates from the countdown. Learn more about the SpaceX CRS-16 mission by going to the mission home page at http://www.nasa.gov/spacex.

SpaceX CRS-16: Weather 90 Percent Favorable for Dec. 5 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 at 4:30 p.m. EDT on April 2, 2018, carrying the SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft. On its 14th commercial resupply services mission for NASA, Dragon delivered supplies, equipment and new science experiments for technology research to the space station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict a 90 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the company’s 16th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec 5 at 1:16 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On launch day, the primary weather concern is liftoff winds.

SpaceX CRS-16 Now Targeted for Dec. 5

NASA and SpaceX are now targeting Wednesday, Dec. 5 for launch of the 16th SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. The launch was moved to Wednesday after mold was found on food bars for a rodent investigation prior to handover to SpaceX. Teams will use the extra day to replace the food bars. The launch time for Wednesday is 1:16 p.m. EST.

Weather Improves to 60 Percent Chance Favorable for SpaceX CRS-16 Launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars upward after lifting 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 soars upward after lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:30 p.m. EDT, on April 2, 2018, carrying the SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft. On its 14th commercial resupply services mission for NASA, Dragon delivered supplies, equipment and new science experiments for technology research to the space station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry

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 16th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec 4 at 1:38 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On launch day, the primary weather concerns are violation of the thick cloud layer and cumulus cloud rules and flight through precipitation.

Science Briefing, Prelaunch News Conference Set for SpaceX CRS-16

SpaceX is targeting 1:38 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 4, for the launch of its 16th 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 1:38 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 4, for the launch of its 16th resupply mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

SpaceX’s 16th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA is targeted to launch at 1:39 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 4, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Join us Monday, Dec. 3, as we start SpaceX CRS-16 launch week coverage with prelaunch events on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

9:30 a.m. – What’s on Board science briefing from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The briefing will highlight the following research:

Jill McGuire, project manager, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will discuss RRM3.

Dr. Ralph Dubayah, principal investigator, University of Maryland, and Bryan Blair, deputy principal investigator, Goddard, will discuss GEDI.

Dr. Elaine Horn-Ranney, principal investigator, Tympanogen, will discuss an investigation into novel wound dressings and how antibiotics can be directly released on wound sites.

Nicole Wagner, LambdaVision, will discuss the Enhancement of Performance and Longevity of a Protein-Based Retinal Implant.

Winners of the Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge:

Adia Bulawa, project lead, Staying Healthy in Space

Sarina Kopf, project lead, Aeroponic Farming in Microgravity

3:30 p.m. – Prelaunch News Conference from Kennedy with the following representatives:

Joel Montelbano, deputy ISS program manager, NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Build and Flight Reliability at SpaceX

Kirt Costello, ISS program chief scientist, Johnson

Clay Flinn, launch weather officer

For the latest schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/content/spacex-crs-16-briefings-and-events/

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

Dragon Set to Deliver Supplies to International Space Station

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 14th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry
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 14th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.
Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tim Powers, Tim Terry

Commercial Resupply Services Mission: SpaceX CRS-16
Launch: 1:38 p.m. EST, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 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 supplies and payloads, including materials to directly support dozens of the science and research investigations that will occur during the space station’s Expeditions 57 and 58.
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: Includes the Robotic Refueling Mission 3, or RRM3, and the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation lidar, or GEDI.

For countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

Successful Launch for SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS-15

Now in its preliminary orbit, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will begin its three-day pursuit of the International Space Station. It’s scheduled to arrive Monday, July 2. NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold will be the prime operator of the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm; he will be backed up by NASA astronaut Drew Feustel. Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor will keep watch over the spacecraft’s systems. Dragon will be installed on the station’s Harmony module.

Solar Arrays Deploying

One of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft's solar arrays is visible as it deploys.
One of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft’s solar arrays is visible as it deploys. Image credit: NASA TV

Dragon’s twin solar arrays are deploying now.

The spacecraft is in orbit after a successful predawn launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The on-time liftoff took place at 5:42 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.