Dragon’s nosecone is open, and the spacecraft is safely in orbit following a launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 5:07 a.m. EST from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying more than 6,500 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the International Space Station.
When it arrives to the space station, Dragon will dock autonomously to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module, with Expedition 66 Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn of NASA monitoring operations.
SpaceX’s 24th cargo mission to the space station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract will support dozens of new and existing investigations, and carry crucial supplies and hardware to the orbital outpost to support the Expedition 66 crew.
In November, the station surpassed its 21-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help improve life on Earth and also prepare for the agency’s long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars. To date, the orbiting laboratory has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.
The uncrewed Dragon spacecraft has separated from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, continuing on its journey to the International Space Station. The company’s 24th cargo resupply mission will deliver more than 6,500 pounds of science experiments and research, crew supplies, and hardware to the orbiting laboratory.
Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at about 3 a.m., followed by docking about 90 minutes later. Expedition 66 Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn will monitor operations while the spacecraft autonomously docks to the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module.
Dragon is expected to spend about a month attached to the space station before autonomously undocking and returning to Earth, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean with research and return cargo.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage completed a perfect landing, touching down on the company’s “Just Read the Instructions” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. This marks the 100th successful landing and recovery for the company of its first-stage booster after launch.
Coming up next, Dragon will separate from the rocket’s second stage to continue its journey to the International Space Station.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s nine Merlin engines have finished their burn, and the first stage has separated from the rocket. As the second stage continues carrying Dragon on its flight, the rocket’s first stage will attempt a targeted landing on the drone ship “Just Read the Instructions.” That’s coming up in just about six minutes.
We have liftoff! At 5:07 a.m. EST, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket powered off the launch pad from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida, carrying the Dragon spacecraft on the company’s 24th commercial resupply services mission for NASA.
Slated to dock with the International Space Station in a little less than 24 hours from now, Dragon will deliver more than 6,500 pounds of science and research experiments, crew supplies, and vehicle hardware to the orbiting laboratory.
Coming up in about a minute, the rocket will pass through Max Q – the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket. Then, the Falcon 9’s first and second stage will separate.
In just under five minutes, the SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft – carrying several important NASA investigations – will blast off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A. The instantaneous launch window opens at 5:07 a.m. EST.
The destination is the International Space Station, where it will dock for approximately one month. Dragon’s planned arrival is Wednesday, Dec. 22, at about 3 a.m., followed by docking about 90 minutes later. NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn will monitor operations while the spacecraft autonomously docks to the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module.
In just under 10 minutes, the nine Merlin engines of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will roar to life, sending the uncrewed Dragon spacecraft on its journey to the International Space Station for the company’s 24th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. The rocket has been fueled with liquid oxygen and RP-1 – rocket-grade kerosene and the launch sequence continues moving towards liftoff.
In the next few minutes, the Falcon 9’s engines will begin to chill in preparation for launch. At five minutes before launch, Dragon will transition to internal power – shortly after, the command flight computer will begin its final pre-launch checks. At about T-45 seconds, the SpaceX launch director will verify “go” for launch.
Packed with more than 6,500 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida today at 5:07 a.m EST.
Here’s a look at some of today’s countdown and ascent milestones. All times are approximate:
Hr/Min/SecEvent – 00:38:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
– 00:35:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading begins
– 00:35:00 1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins
– 00:16:00 2nd stage LOX loading begins
– 00:07:00 Falcon 9 begins pre-launch engine chill
– 00:05:00 Dragon transitions to internal power
– 00:01:00 Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
– 00:01:00 Propellant tanks pressurize for flight
– 00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
– 00:00:03 Engine controller commands ignition sequence to start
– 00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff
LAUNCH, LANDING, AND DRAGON DEPLOYMENT
Hr/Min/SecEvent 00:01:18 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:30 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:34 1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:41 2nd stage engine starts
00:06:37 1st stage entry burn begins
00:08:38 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO)
00:08:38 1st stage landing
00:11:49 Dragon separates from 2nd stage
00:12:35 Dragon nosecone open sequence begins
When SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket roars off the launch pad from Kennedy Space Center in less than 30 minutes, the Dragon spacecraft, set atop the launch vehicle, will be carrying a variety of important of NASA investigations.
Here is a look at some of the important science aboard Dragon:
A handheld bioprinter that could one day be used to print tissue directly onto wounds for faster healing.
An investigation from the makers of Tide that examines detergent efficacy in microgravity.
Experiments from students at several universities as part of the Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science (SPOCS) program.
About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon will separate from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station. Arrival to the station is planned for Wednesday, Dec. 22. Dragon will dock autonomously to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module, with NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn monitoring operations from the station.
The spacecraft is expected to spend about a month attached to the orbiting outpost before it returns to Earth with research and return cargo, splashing down off the coast of Florida.
We are now about 20 minutes away from liftoff of SpaceX’s 24th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Tune in to NASA TV or the agency’s website, starting now, to watch the broadcast live from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Also, you can stay with us here on the blog, as we bring you live coverage of today’s mission. An instantaneous window opens at approximately 5:07 a.m. EST. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Dragon spacecraft atop, will lift off from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, carrying several important NASA investigations, as well as crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory to support the Expedition 66 crew.
Dragon is scheduled to dock with the orbiting laboratory at approximately 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 22. Check out live coverage of the docking to space station on NASA TV starting at 3:00 a.m.
Stay tuned for more live updates of today’s launch.