SpaceX Falcon 9 Poised for May 3 Liftoff on Dragon Cargo Mission to ISS: Photos, Watch Live

Up Close view of SpaceX
Cargo Dragon and mobile cleanroom as
technicians work towards addition of 
CRS-17 mission late load science items as the SpaceX Falcon 9
rocket rests horizontal on 
Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
in Florida.
The CRS-17 cargo ship is now
slated for liftoff May 3, 2019 at 3:11 a.m. EDT.  Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Ken
Kremer —
SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
– 2 May 2019


KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL     NASA and SpaceX officials confirmed today that
launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo mission  to the
International Space Station (ISS) is on track for a spectacular ‘middle-of-the-night liftoff
less than 12 hours from now Wednesday, May 3, after finally fixing an
electrical power problem caused by a failed power distribution component earlier
this morning, May 2, that had curtailed power and operations at the orbiting
lab complex.



At today’s prelaunch
briefing at the Kennedy Space Center, Kenny Todd, NASA’s space station
operations and integration manager, reported that the
ISS was now ready to support the SpaceX launch
after ground controllers at JSC were able to successfully swap out of the failed
Main Bus Switching Unit 3 (MBSU) power distribution unit using the stations
robotic arm and restore full power. 



The failed Main Bus Switching Unit 3 (MBSU) was
unable to distribute power to two of the eight power channels on the station since
it malfunctioned Monday morning, forcing a two day launch delay.



Thus technically the Falcon 9 is ready to go
but a threatening storm system is heading towards the Florida Space Coast at
this moment and could well derail the launch plans. 



SpaceX
and NASA are now
targeting 3:11 a.m.
EDT 
(0711 GMT) Friday, May 3 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 bound for the ISS with almost 3 tons of science and supplies.



Enjoy our Space UpClose photos of the Falcon 9
and Cargo Dragon resting horizontal at pad 40.



NASA TV will broadcast the launch and capture
activities live.



You can watch live on NASA TV and the agency’s
website starting at 2:45 a.m. EDT May 3 – at www.nasatv.gov  www.nasatv.gov
and https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive



SpaceX also broadcasts a live webcast starting
15 min before liftoff:
spacex.com/webcast



Up Close view of SpaceX
Cargo Dragon and mobile cleanroom as
technicians work towards addition of 
CRS-17 mission late load science items as the SpaceX Falcon 9
rocket rests horizontal on 
Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
in Florida.
The CRS-17 cargo ship is now
slated for liftoff May 3, 2019 at 3:11 a.m. EDT.  Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The launch time is instantaneous with no
window. 



The back
up launch date is May 4 in case of a delay for technical or weather reasons.



Unfortunately,
the weather outlook is not promising. 



Air Force
weather forecasters with the 45th Space Wing predict only a 40%
chance of favorable conditions at launch time.



The primary
concerns are cumulus clouds, thick clouds, and precipitation as the Falcon 9
ascends to orbit. 



The countdown clock at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
highlighting the SpaceX Dragon CRS-17 resupply mission logo to the ISS on May 2
under gloomy skies beside the US Flag – with liftoff slated for May 3, 2019
at 3:11 a.m. EDT. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Technicians are finalizing the rocket for launch and
carrying out final launch preparations as they also pack aboard the very
important ‘late load’ science and hardware using a mobile cleanroom for
research samples and experiments that must be loaded in the final 24 hours before
blastoff.  



The
mission is also very exciting because it 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
week by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). 



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.

“The Expedition 59 crew will welcome Dragon when it
arrives  …. carrying nearly 5,500 pounds
of cargo.”
Canadian Astronaut David Saint-Jacques “will be at the controls
of the robotics workstation …  commanding
the Canadarm2
to capture Dragon” whenever it does arrive. A launch Friday translates to a
Sunday May 5 arrival.  



This Dragon is refurbished and recycled and previously flew
on the prior CRS- 12 mission to the station in Aug. 2017. 
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.
Credit: NASA

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 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).

Overall the CRS-17 manifest includes:
Total Cargo: 5,472 pounds / 2,482 kilograms 
Total Pressurized Cargo with Packaging: 3,344
pounds / 1,517 kilograms 



Unpressurized Payloads:  2,128 pounds / 965 kilograms

Crew Supplies 745 pounds / 338 kilograms

Science Investigations 1,601 pounds / 726
kilograms

Vehicle Hardware 787 pounds / 357 kilograms

Spacewalk Equipment 22 pounds / 10 kilograms

Computer Resources 165 pounds / 75 kilograms

Russian Hardware 24 pounds / 11 kilograms

Unpressurized Payloads 2,128 pounds / 965
kilograms
SpaceX conducts successful daytime static fire test of new Falcon
9 first stage engines at 10 a.m. EDT on April 27 with exhaust wafting overhead at
Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for CRS-17 resupply
mission to the ISS targeted for launch May 3, 2019 – NASA KSC picturesque Vehicle
Assembly Building (VAB) seen nearby at left. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The path to May 3 launch was cleared after SpaceX
completed a critical and successful static hot fire test of their Falcon 9 rocket
first stage engines at 10 a.m. EDT Saturday morning, April 27 for the NASA contracted
resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).



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. 



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



Ken’s upcoming 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: 



May
2/3/4
: “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

SpaceX CRS-17 mission Pre-launch
briefing Derrol Nail, KSC PAO,
Kenny Todd, manager, International Space Station Operations and Integration,
NASA’s Johnson Space Center, 
Hans Koenigsmann, VP Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX,
Will Ulrich – launch weather officer, 45th Space Wing – at NASA’s Kennedy Space
Center press site on 2 May 2019. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
CRS-17 mission patch


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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