SpaceX Crew Dragon Raised at Sunset, Points to the Heavens for Critical Test Flight March 2: Photos

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon go vertical at
sunset Feb. 28, 2019 preparing for critical maiden unpiloted test
flight on Demo-1 mission scheduled to launch March 2 at 2:49 a.m. EST  from NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A in
Florida, preparing to return human spaceflight capabilities to the United
States Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Ken Kremer — SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM — 28 February
2019



KENNEDY
SPACE CENTER, FL
– The first flightworthy
SpaceX Crew Dragon was raised vertical at sunset this evening, Thursday, Feb.
28, pointing gloriously to the heavens in anticipation of her critical maiden test
flight slated for liftoff in the middle of the night Saturday morning, March 2.



If all goes well on this unpiloted Demo-1
mission a pair of NASA astronauts will climb aboard next time on the Demo-2
Crew Dragon mission that could take place as soon as July – from the Florida Space Coast bound for the
International Space Station (ISS). 



“The task ahead is historic,” said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability,
SpaceX,
at todays prelaunch press briefing at the
Kennedy Space Center.



“We will see a great mission. We are very excited.”


Thus the stakes are truly sky high as America
seeks to restore its capability to launch humans to space from American rocket on
American soil – a capability lost when NASA’s shuttles were forcibly retired in
2011. 



SpaceX technicians erected the Falcon 9
rocket integrated with the Crew Dragon 90 degrees from horizontal to vertical starting
after 6 p.m. around sunset this evening using the dedicated transporter-erector
(TE) at NASA’s historic Launch Complex-39A
at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). 


Check out our high resolution Space UpClose
photos taken as the rocket went vertical -as I observed from the KSC Launch
Complex 39A press site.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon go vertical at
sunset Feb. 28, 2019 preparing for critical maiden unpiloted test flight on Demo-1
mission scheduled to launch March 2 at 2:49 a.m. EST  from NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A in
Florida, preparing to return human spaceflight capabilities to the United
States Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Launch of the inaugural Crew Dragon on the
Demo-1 (DM-1) mission is scheduled for 2:49
a.m. EST
(0749 GMT) Saturday, March 2 from historic
Launch Complex-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That moment coincides
with
the time when Earth’s rotation carries the rocket into the plane
of the space station’s to enable a successful rendezvous and docking with the
fuel on board.
 
“Demo-1 is an extremely important mission. Its more important than anything else SpaceX does,” Koenigsmann elaborated.
“The core mission of SpaceX’s existence is
for human spaceflight.”
The Falcon 9 lifting process took roughly about
20 minutes to complete, which is the approximate normal length and appeared to
go well with no significant interruptions ot hiccups.
The Falcon 9/Crew Dragon stack standing some
215 feet tall (65 meter) looked spectacular this evening.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon go vertical at
sunset Feb. 28, 2019 preparing for critical maiden unpiloted test flight on Demo-1
mission scheduled to launch March 2 at 2:49 a.m. EST  from NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A in
Florida, preparing to return human spaceflight capabilities to the United
States Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
The stack was rolled up the ramp horizontally
at pad 39A early this morning starting
around 10 a.m. EST
under heavy fog that obscured the view until
noontime.

Wide view of the Kennedy Space Center press site and famous
countdown clock showing SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon going vertical at
sunset Feb. 28, 2019 preparing for critical maiden unpiloted test flight on Demo-1
mission scheduled to launch March 2 at 2:49 a.m. EST  from NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A in
Florida.  Credit:
Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and
Crew Dragon resting horizontal before going vertical at sunset Feb. 28, 2019 preparing
for critical maiden unpiloted test flight on Demo-1 mission scheduled to launch
March 2 at 2:49 a.m. EST  from NASA’s historic
Launch Complex 39A in Florida.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The Falcon 9 is outfitted with four landing
legs and four grid fins and will attempt to soft land on the
“Of
Course I Still Love You” drone ship (OCISLY) drone ship
at sea in the Atlantic Ocean about 9.5 minutes after liftoff.



Crew Dragon will separate from Falcon 9 about
11.5 minutes after liftoff The mission will be a full up test of all the
Dragon systems including life support, guidance, navigation and control,
avionics, computers, thrusters and docking.



The ship will fly completely autonomously.


About 27 hours after launch it will dock at
the ISS at the forward docking port where shuttles used to dock.  



But the port has been upgraded with a new International
Docking Adapter or IDA.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and
Crew Dragon resting horizontal before going vertical at sunset Feb. 28, 2019 preparing
for critical maiden unpiloted test flight on Demo-1 mission scheduled to launch
March 2 at 2:49 a.m. EST  from NASA’s historic
Launch Complex 39A in Florida.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com


The SpaceX Crew
Dragon and Boeing Starliner CST-100 human spacecraft
under currently development under NASA’s $6.8 Billion Commercial
Crew Program  (CCP) -with the goal to once
again
ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from American soil on American rockets to end our
sole reliance on the Russian Soyuz since the forced shutdown of NASA’s space
shuttles in 2011.



“It will be the first time a
commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft designed for humans
will launch to the space station,” said NASA.



The vessel will
dock at the ISS about 24 hours after liftoff and remain attached about 5 days
before undocking and carrying out a parachute assisted splashdown in the
Atlantic Ocean offshore of Florida’s East Coast on March 8.  



In case of a delay back up launch opportunities exist on
March 5 and 9.  



Thereafter they must wait until after the next Russian Soyuz
crew launch on March 14 involving the crew of Nick that narrowly escaped
disaster from a failed Soyuz launch last October.



NASA TV and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of the launch and
prelaunch activities. Space UpClose will onsite at KSC covering all aspects of
the mission. 



The Crew Dragon is a significantly enhanced version of the
SpaceX Cargo Dragon including life support systems for astronauts and upgraded
composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPV) filled with helium in the Block 5
version of the Falcon 9 rocket to minimize the potential for a friction ignition
of carbon fibers as occurred during the AMOS-6 catastrophe.



Here’s a link to my Fox News 35 Orlando
prelaunch interview about the do or die nature of the Demo-1 mission
http://www.fox35orlando.com/news/local-news/make-or-break-moment-for-spacex-crew-capsule

Watch for Ken’s ongoing onsite mission coverage
at the Kennedy Space Center. 

Watch for Ken’s continuing
onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and
Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com



Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC
area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space
topics.



………….

Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events



Learn more about the upcoming/recent SpaceX Demo-1, Falcon 9 Nusantara Satu launch, USAF GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-16 launch
to ISS,  NASA missions, ULA Atlas &
Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center,
Titusville
, FL, evenings: 


Mar
1/2
: “SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1
and
Nusantara
Satu launch,
Dragon CRS-16 resupply
launch to ISS, SpaceX Falcon GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9
launches, upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 USAF GP3 3-01, NRO & USAF Spysats, SLS,
Orion, Boeing and SpaceX Commercial crew capsules, OSIRIS-Rex, Juno at Jupiter,
InSight Mars lander, Curiosity and Opportunity explore Mars, NH at Pluto, Kuiper
Belt and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings. Photos for sale



Ken’s
upcoming talks:



Apr 3: “Exploring
Mars; The Search for Life & A Journey in 3-D.”  7 PM, Lawton C
Johnson
Middle School, Summit, NJ. Open to the public. Details upcoming.
Latest results from Mars & Ultima Thule







Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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