SpaceX Crew Dragon Meets Falcon 9 and Goes Vertical at Launch Pad for Historic 1st Astronaut Launch: Photos

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is raised into a vertical position on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, Thursday, May 21, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission is the first launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – The first SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and integrated Crew Dragon spacecraft that will launch humans to space on its historic 1st astronaut mission has rolled out this morning May 21 to the pad and gone vertical ahead of blastoff still slated for next week Wednesday, May 27 from the Florida Space Coast to the International Space Station (ISS) – as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Overnight the complete Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon for the Demo-2 mission to the ISS were rolled out horizontally atop the transported erector from the huge processing hangar located just outside pad 39A up the ramp to the top of the pad.

The 21 story tall stack was raised erect over about a half hour period from 8;30 a.m. to 9 a.m. this Thursday morning, May 21.

Enjoy the photo gallery assembled form NASA and SpaceX imagery, as well as my more distant views some 12 miles away from Titusville.

Watch this timelapse of the Falcon 9 erection at pad 39A from SpaceX:

“Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon are vertical on the launch pad,” SpaceX tweeted this afternoon.

“One step closer to launch. The @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon are now on the launch pad ahead of liftoff, which is slated for May 27 at 4:33 pm ET. The mission will mark the first time astronauts have launched from U.S. soil since 2011,” NASA tweeted.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft atop after being raised into vertical position at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, Thursday, May 21, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – as seen from 12 miles away in Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

 

 

Yesterday the pair of veteran NASA astronauts – Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken – who will ride to space on the Demo-2 mission flew to the Florida Space Coast and arrived Wednesday afternoon May 20 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to start the final preparations for the history making 1st launch of American astronauts in nine years atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket since the retirement of NASA’s space shuttles in 2011.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, left, and Douglas Hurley speak to members of the media after arriving at the Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center ahead of SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Florida. A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the first time since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission piloted by Hurley and Behnken will at last restore U.S. human spaceflight capabilities after a nearly decade long drought.

Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on the Demo-2 test flight from historic Launch Complex 39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is slated for May 27 at 4:33 p.m. EDT for an extended mission.

The crew access arm swings into position for the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, Thursday, May 21, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The static test fire of the rocket is planned for Friday, May 22 at 4:33 p.m. ET to test out all systems as is routinely done and serves as a practice countdown, will coincide with the actual planned launch time next Wednesday, May 27.

Just days ago the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 spacecraft was transported to the pad 39A hangar to carry out the assembly operations with the Falcon 9 rocket already waiting inside.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft arrives at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, transported from the company’s processing facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday, May 15, 2020, in preparation for the Demo-2 flight test. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

“The Crew Dragon has arrived to Launch Complex 39A! This spacecraft will carry @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug to the @Space_Station when it launches atop a @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on May 27, at 4:33 p.m. ET,” KSC tweeted.

Here are more Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 photos from SpaceX:

The NASA and SpaceX team are conducting a Flight Readiness Review for the mission planned for all day Thursday May 21. It was chaired by Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s associate administrator. The senior SpaceX rep is Hans Koenigsmann, vice president for Build and Flight Reliability.

The FRR concluded at 5:30 p.m. today and will resume Friday

Here’s my view of the Crew Dragon used in the In Flight Abort (IFA) Test in Jan 2020.

Up Close view of SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule bolted atop Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule stand poised for liftoff at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL, for Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort (IFA) test. As seen from pad 39A after sea weather scrub. IFA launch reset to Jan. 19, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft atop after being raised into vertical position at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, Thursday, May 21, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – as seen from 12 miles away in Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

 

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Ken Kremer

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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