Weather: 10 Percent Chance of Acceptable Conditions

spacex-crs-4-1Two of the launch commit criteria remain no-go this morning ahead of the 2:14 a.m. EDT launch opportunity. Current conditions violate rules on disturbed weather in the area and thick clouds over the launch site. Briefing the launch team moments ago, meteorologist Mike McAleenan put the chances of acceptable conditions at only 10 percent. “We’re not looking too good,” McAleenan said. The launch window is instantaneous, so the launch team doesn’t have any room to try to wait for clearing. If the launch cannot go tonight, there is another chance Sunday morning. The forecast for Sunday morning calls for a 60 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

Good Morning from Florida!

Crs4logo We have an hour and 14 minutes before the launch this morning of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on a cargo-delivery mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 2:14 a.m. EDT from Launch Complex 40 here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch window is instant since the Dragon has to be put on a precise path to catch the ISS which is moving at 17,500 mph. Weather is the primary concern and the chance of acceptable conditions has dropped to 30 percent. There are no technical concerns at this hour as the launch teams for the company and NASA track the milestones during this last phase of the countdown. The Dragon spacecraft is equipped only to carry cargo and has been loaded with 5,000 pounds of materials the crew of the space station will put to use. We’ll detail some of the experiments and other elements going up on this flight as the blog goes along. We’ll also track all the countdown highlights as they occur and tell you a few things about the Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft.

Go for Fueling, Weather at 30 percent Favorable

The SpaceX launch control team has been given a “go” to fuel the Falcon 9 rocket for the launch of SpaceX CRS-4 to the International Space Station. There is a 30 percent chance for favorable weather at the liftoff time, which has changed by one second to 2:14:38 a.m. EDT Saturday.

The fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the space station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA television coverage will begin at 1 a.m. The spacecraft’s 2.5 tons of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations includes critical materials to support 255 science and research investigations that will occur during the station’s Expeditions 41 and 42.

Preparations on Track for Saturday Morning Launch

The fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the space station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is targeted for an instantaneous window at 2:14 a.m. EDT. Live countdown coverage begins at 1 a.m. on NASA Television and NASA’s Launch Blog.

Weather forecasters are predicting a 50 percent chance of favorable conditions at launch time, with possible thick clouds and rain showers as primary concerns.

The Dragon spacecraft’s 2.5 tons of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations includes critical materials to support 255 science and research investigations that will occur during the station’s Expeditions 41 and 42.

“This flight shows the breadth of ISS as a research platform, and we’re seeing the maturity of ISS for that,” NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said during a prelaunch news conference at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX CRS-4 Press Kit

SpaceX4PressKit-front

Want to find out details of all sorts about the upcoming SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station? The SpaceX CRS-4 PressKit is a good place to start. It has what you need to know about the Falcon 9, the Dragon spacecraft and some of the NASA experiments that will fly onboard, including the RapidScat.

Launch of the mission is scheduled for 2:14 a.m. EDT Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

You can catch all the countdown highlights as they happen here on the NASA Launch Blog and on NASA TV beginning at 1 a.m. EDT.

Launch Date Adjusted to Sept. 20

File photo: SpaceX-2 Launch
File photo: SpaceX-2 Launch

The launch of the fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for Sept. 20 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The one-day adjustment in the launch date was made to accommodate preparations of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and was coordinated with the station’s partners and managers.

Slated for liftoff at 2:16 a.m. EDT, the company’s Dragon capsule will carry about 5,000 pounds of experiments, equipment and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. The spacecraft will ride into orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket, also built by SpaceX. Our continuous coverage of the countdown and liftoff of the mission will begin at 1:15 a.m. EDT on the NASA Launch Blog and on NASA TV. You can stream NASA TV coverage at www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

SpaceX-4 Targeted for Sept. 19 Launch

SpaceX-3 in space.

SpaceX is targeting Sept. 19 for the launch of its next cargo mission to the International Space Station. Launch time is 2:38:44 a.m. Eastern from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida The Dragon capsule will fly on a Falcon 9 rocket, both built by the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company. It will carry experiments, supplies and other cargo to the orbiting laboratory where the astronauts living on the station will unload it and put it to use. The Dragon will be loaded with used experiments and other materials no longer needed on the station before it makes its way back to Earth and lands by parachute in the Pacific Ocean.

Dragon Capsule Parachutes to Earth to Cap SpaceX-3 Mission

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. EDT about 300 miles west of Baja California, marking the end of the company’s third contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

A boat will carry the Dragon spacecraft, which has aboard it about 3,500 pounds of cargo and science samples, to a port near Los Angeles, where it will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing. Some cargo, including a freezer packed with research samples collected aboard the space station, will be removed at the port in California and returned to NASA within 48 hours.

Investigations included among the returned cargo could aid in better understanding the decreased effectiveness of antibiotics during spaceflight while also improving antibiotic development on Earth. Others could lead to the development of plants better suited for space and improvements in sustainable agriculture.

The T-Cell Activation in Aging experiment, which also launched to space aboard Dragon, seeks the cause of a depression in the human immune system while in microgravity. The research could help researchers develop better protective measures to prevent disease in astronauts.

Dragon is the only space station resupply spacecraft capable of returning large amounts of cargo to Earth. The spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida April 18, carrying approximately 5,000 pounds of supplies and science investigations to the space station. The mission was the third of at least 12 cargo resupply trips SpaceX plans to make to the space station through 2016 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

 

Looking Live at Earth from the International Space Station

HDEVview

One of the new experiments aboard the International Space Station can now be watched live by anyone on Earth with an Internet connection. The research is part of a project called High Definition Earth Viewing, or HDEV. Four commercially available cameras carried to the station on the SpaceX-3 cargo resupply mission have been installed on the outside of the station and viewers can watch the feeds as they automatically scan through various angles to show different views of Earth from the orbiting laboratory.

Although they are enclosed in special cases, the cameras are exposed to the vacuum and radiation of space so researchers on Earth can note whether the pictures degrade over time and how badly. You can watch the live stream online at here. You can read more about HDEV here.

HDEV was one of several new research projects recently carried to the one-of-a-kind science center orbiting about 260 miles over Earth. Numerous experiment aboard the station are conducted daily by astronauts while others are run automatically. You can read more details about station research here.

 

SpaceX-4 Slated for August Launch

Spacex-LOOP-not-textThe fourth cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station by SpaceX is to take place in August. A Dragon spacecraft launching on a Falcon 9 rocket, both built by the Hawthorne, Calif., aerospace company, will be loaded with experiments, supplies and equipment for the crew of the station.

The Dragon also will carry the RapidScat instrument which will be mounted to the station and take readings of the ocean surface winds on Earth. The Dragon performing the third cargo mission to the station remains connected to the Harmony module as astronauts unload the fresh supplies and equipment and fill it with spent experiments and other things they don’t need anymore. The uncrewed Dragon is to return to Earth and parachute into the Pacific Ocean off California later this month.