Kremer — SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM – 27 April 2019
TITUSVILLE, FL – SpaceX completed a critical and successful static hot fire test of their Falcon 9 rocket
first stage engines at 10 a.m. EDT this morning Saturday,
April 27, clearing the path to blastoff on a NASA contracted resupply mission
to the International Space Station (ISS) overnight May 1 that will also feature
the 1st ever droneship landing that should be easily visible occurring
just a few miles offshore of the Florida Space Coast beaches – following an
emergency approval granted last night by the Federal Communications
Furthermore the weather outlook is quite good
with a forecast of 80 percent GO for conditions at launch time.
The safe and successful SpaceX Falcon 9 engine test comes exactly one week after the failed
engine test last Saturday involving the Super Draco abort engines of the Demo-1
Crew Dragon that suddenly sent thick smoke billowing into the air with a
release of toxic chemicals over the Cape Canaveral test site and apparently resulted
in the capsules catastrophic destruction.
The brief hold down static
hot fire test involving ignition of all nine Merlin 1D first
stage engines was carried out by SpaceX engineers at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on
pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fl., using a newly manufactured version of the
upgraded Block 5 version of their workhorse Falcon 9.
Check out my
exclusive Space UpClose eyewitness photos captured about 13 miles away this
morning in Titusville, Fl – with NASAs iconic and picturesque Vehicle Assembly
Building (VAB) seen nearby in the scene.
The ‘Sure to be Spectacular’ and ‘Middle of
the Night’ 1st of its kind space stunner will now take place a day
later than previously planned with SpaceX and NASA now targeting 3:59 a.m.
EDT (0759 GMT) Wednesday, May 1 for the Falcon 9 rocket launch
of the unpiloted Dragon CRS-17 cargo ship from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
is ‘instantaneous’ meaning any delay for weather or technical reason forces a minimum
1 day scrub.
marks SpaceX’s 17th cargo mission to the space station.
this sequence of our test fire images.
the positive outcome of the engine test by tweet about 23 minutes later.
in Florida for Dragon’s seventeenth mission to the @Space_Station.”
launch was delayed a day after a delay to the static fire test operation.
of the Falcon 9 were rolled out and raised Friday morning by 8 a.m. at pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in
not known, SpaceX then delayed the test another day to Saturday morning.
The hold down
static fire test is routinely carried by SpaceX to ensure all is ready with the
During the engine test all nine Merlin 1D first stage
engines are briefly ignited for several seconds.
During Saturday’s night’s hold down
static fire test, the rocket’s first and second stages are fueled with liquid
oxygen and RP-1 propellants just like an actual launch, and a simulated
countdown was carried out to the point of a brief engine ignition lasting
around 3 seconds or so.
pad in daylight with prefect weather and visibility beside sunglare I was able
to observe a large vapor cloud of exhaust emitted from
the Falcon 9 first stage in the moments after ignition. I did not hear the rockets engines ruble several
seconds later as the vapor cloud dissipated.
The hold down
engine test with the erected Falcon 9 rocket involved the ignition of all nine
Merlin 1D first stage engines generating some 1.7 million pounds of thrust at
pad 40 while the two stage rocket was restrained on the pad – minus the Dragon
The rocket will now be lowered horizontal and rolled back down the ramp and returned to the
pad 40 hanger to attach the Dragon cargo spacecraft.
mission features an all new, never before flown Falcon 9 Block 5 version rocket.
With approval from the
FCC now granted in the form of a ‘Special Temporary Authorization’ (STA) SpaceX
is swapping out the first stage booster landing target favoring touchdown on
the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ (OCISLY) platform vessel to be
stationed some 17 miles offshore of Florida’s East Coast
region in the Atlantic Ocean in place of the land landing at Landing Zone-1 at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The booster landing target was changed in order
to ensure the integrity of the Landing Zone-1 area and thereby preserve
valuable information useful in determining the root cause of the April 20 Crew
Dragon mishap that caused chemical and debris contamination of the surrounding
SpaceX static fire testing anomaly April 20,
2019 impacted Demo-1 Crew Vehicle sends smoke billowing into the skies over
Cape Canaveral, FL. Credit: Craig Bailey/Florida Today
SpaceX applied for an emergency FCC license to
conduct the potential droneship landing roughly 17 miles offshore of Cape
Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean on the ‘Of Course I Still
Love You’ (OCISLY) platform vessel after the Crew Dragon mishap put Landing Zone-1 off limits for the touchdown.
The Dragon CRS-17 cargo freighter will carry over
2.7 tons of science experiments, research gear, crew supplies and hardware to
the orbiting laboratory to support the Expedition 59 and 60 crews for
the 17th mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.
This Dragon is refurbished and recycled and previously flew
on a prior CRS mission to the station.
high, 12-foot-diameter Dragon CRS-16 vessel is jam packed with more than 5500 pounds (2500 kilograms) of science
experiments, research hardware, space parts, food water, clothing and more supplies
for the six person Expedition 59 and 60 crews.
726 kg – including the two unpressurized
cargo payload carried up in the truck and to be mounted externally: namely NASA’s Orbiting Carbon
Observatory-3 (OCO-3) which will measure levels of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere during its planned 3 year mission and the Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6).
SpaceX Dragon CRS-17 mission truck carrying two
payloads including NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3
(OCO-3) and the U.S. military’s Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6) payloads.
The back up launch date is May 2.
The prior CRS-16 resupply flight successfully flew in December
2019 from pad 40.
The two stage Falcon 9/Dragon rocket stands
about 213-feet (65-meters) tall.
SpaceX was awarded an
approximately $3.1 Billion contract from NASA to launch 20 Dragon cargo missions
to the orbiting outpost through 2019 under the Commercial Resupply Services-1
(CRS-1) agreement that was amended in 2015 and increased from an original value
of $1.6 Billion.
NASA also awarded a CRS
contract to Northrop Grumman that has likewise been increased.
Last week Northrop
Grumman successfully launched the Cygnus NG-11 cargo craft to the ISS on April
17 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility with more than 7000 pounds of cargo and
science. Read my on site articles/photos
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
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events
Learn more about the upcoming/recent SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-17
launch to ISS, Falcon Heavy, SpaceX Demo-1 launch/test failure, SpaceX Beresheet
launch, NASA missions, ULA Atlas & Delta launches,
Northrop Grumman Antares, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at
Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center,
Titusville, FL, evenings:
29/30 May 1: “SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-17
resupply launch to ISS, Demo-1, Beresheet launches, SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches, upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9, ULA, NRO
& USAF Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing and SpaceX Commercial crew capsules,
OSIRIS-Rex, InSight Mars lander, Curiosity and Opportunity explore Mars, NH at
Pluto, Ultima Thule and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville,
FL, evenings. Photos for sale