SpaceX, NASA Target April 30 Cargo Dragon Launch to ISS with Droneship Landing after Crew Dragon Anomaly

Up Close view of prior Dragon
CRS-16 cargo ship bolted atop SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket poised for liftoff on
mission to the ISS from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, FL, on Dec. 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm EST. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Ken
Kremer —
SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
– 22 April 2019
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL   
SpaceX and NASA say they remain on target to launch a commercial Cargo Dragon
spacecraft to the International Space Station next week from the Florida Space
Coast even as the investigation continues into the Crew Dragon engine testing
failure on Saturday, April 20 that apparently caused irreparable damage to the vehicle and is
likely to delay the resumption of astronaut launches from the US by the company.
Furthermore SpaceX is likely to swap out the first
stage booster landing target favoring a droneship landing several 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. 
As of
today SpaceX is targeting 4:22 a.m. EDT (0822
GMT)
Tuesday, April 30, for the
launch of its Dragon CRS-17 cargo ship on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space
Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.



The
Falcon 9 will be a new, never before flown rocket. 
If the booster landing target changes it will
be done 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 area. 



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 has applied for an FCC license to
conduct the potential droneship landing April 30 roughly 17 miles offshore of
Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’
(OCISLY) platform vessel. 



The landing should make for spectacular viewing
since it will be so close to numerous viewing locations and regional beaches. 
Confirmation of the April 30 target date was announced
by
NASA spokesman Josh Finch at the start of a
previously scheduled media telecon on April 22. 
Thus there is no slip in
the launch target date at this time as a result of the April 20 anomoly that
may have caused catastrophic damage to the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 test
vehicle undergoing ground testing of the Super Draco engines that ended in
failure.
At the media briefing I
asked if NASA and SpaceX were looking into any commonality between the cargo
and crew Dragon spacecraft that could be of concern and delay the launch.
NASA just referred to
the statement by Administrator Jim Bridenstine  stating that an joint investigation was
underway. 
Up Close view of SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft bolted atop Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Access Arm astronaut
walkway in position after being raised vertical at NASA’s historic Launch
Complex 39A in Florida on March 1, 2019 ahead of scheduled maiden liftoff March
2 at 2:49 a.m. EST on critical unpiloted test flight on Demo-1 mission. This vehicle
apparently destroyed during static fire test anomaly failure on Apr. 20, 2019
on Landing Zone-1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The requisite Static Hot
Fire Test of the first stage Merlin 1D engines currently slated for NET April
25.



Space Up Close will make
the best effort to be there watching live.


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 contract.
This Dragon is refurbished and recycled and previously flew
on a prior CRS mission to the station.
The 20-foot
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.



The science payload alone amounts to 1601
pounds, 726 kg
– including the unpressurized cargo
to to be mounted externally namely the
Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3). 



The back up launch date is May 1.

SpaceX
Dragon CRS-16 spacecraft launches to the International Space Station at 1:16
p.m. EST Dec. 5, 2018, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying more than 5,600 pounds of
research equipment, cargo and supplies on the 16th resupply mission
for NASA.

Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

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
here. 
Watch my commentary at Fox 35 TV News Orlando about the SpaceX
Crew Dragon testing failure here and the implications for delay in future Crew
Dragon test flights here:



Dr. Ken Kremer/Space UpClose interviewed on Fox 35 WOFL TV
News on 22 April about the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 vehicle Super Draco engine
testing failure that took place on 20 April 2019. Screenshot: Ken Kremer/WOFL 

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 launch and
test failure, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-17 launch to ISS, Falcon 9 Beresheet
launch, USAF GPS 3-01, NASA missions, ULA Atlas &
Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville,
FL, evenings: 



Apr 28-30:
“SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1 and Beresheet

launch,
Dragon CRS-17 resupply launch to ISS, SpaceX
Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 launches, upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 ULA, 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, Ultima Thule, Kuiper Belt and more,” Kennedy Space Center
Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings.
Photos for sale


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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