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
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.
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.
for human spaceflight.”
20 minutes to complete, which is the approximate normal length and appeared to
go well with no significant interruptions ot hiccups.
215 feet tall (65 meter) looked spectacular this evening.
at pad 39A early this morning starting
around 10 a.m. ESTunder heavy fog that obscured the view until
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.
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
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.
prelaunch interview about the do or die nature of the Demo-1 mission
Watch for Ken’s ongoing onsite mission coverage
at the Kennedy Space Center.
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.
Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com
area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space
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:
1/2: “SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1
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
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