SpaceX launches space station cargo mission – Spaceflight Now

Live coverage of the countdown and launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket will launch SpaceX’s 25th resupply mission to the International Space Station. follow us on Twitter.

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SpaceX’s 25th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station lifted off Thursday at 8:44 p.m. EDT (Friday 00:44 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon capsule toward the station with nearly three tons of cargo.

Liftoff from Pad 39A at Kennedy occurred precisely at 8:44:22 p.m. EDT (00:44:22 GMT), around the time Earth’s rotation brings the launch site below the orbital plane. of the space station.

There was a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch on Thursday, according to the US Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron. The main weather concerns were cumulus clouds which could create a lightning hazard and flying through precipitation.

But the weather held Thursday to allow the Falcon 9 to take off from the Space Coast of Florida.

After liftoff, the Falcon 9 headed northeast from Kennedy, powered by nine Merlin engines generating 1.7 million pounds of thrust. The rocket shut down its first-stage booster about two and a half minutes into the mission, allowing the booster to descend to land on a drone about 186 miles (300 kilometers) downriver in the Atlantic Ocean at around seven o’clock. and a half. -minutes and a half after takeoff.

The booster, tail number B1067, completed its fifth flight on the CRS-25 mission. It previously launched the CRS-22 cargo mission last June, launched two NASA crew missions to the station, and carried the Turkish communications satellite Turksat 5B into space.

The Dragon spacecraft rolled out from the upper stage of Falcon 9 about 12 minutes after liftoff to begin the day-and-a-half journey to the International Space Station. The Dragon cargo capsule of the CRS-25 mission launched for its third flight to the station.

Stationed in a firing suite at a launch control center in Kennedy, the SpaceX launch team began loading super-chilled and densified kerosene and liquid oxygen boosters into the 215-foot Falcon 9 vehicle. high (65 meters) at T-minus 35 minutes.

Pressurized helium also flowed into the rocket in the last half hour of the countdown. During the last seven minutes before liftoff, the Falcon 9’s Merlin main engines were thermally conditioned for flight through a procedure known as “cooling down.” Falcon 9’s range guidance and safety systems were also configured for launch.

SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket roll out to Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the launch of the company’s 25th cargo mission to the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX

With an on-time launch Thursday evening, the Dragon freighter is expected to automatically dock with the space station’s Harmony module at 11:20 a.m. EDT (1520 GMT) Saturday.

Space station astronauts will open the hatches and unpack supplies, experiments and other equipment stored inside the Dragon capsule’s pressurized compartment. At the end of the mission, the reusable capsule will undock from the station and head for a parachute-assisted landing off the coast of Florida in mid-August with several tons of cargo.

The cargo ship launched with approximately 5,800 pounds of supplies and payloads, including a NASA climate instrument to be mounted outside the space station.

The EMIT (Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation) instrument was developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It will be attached to a mounting station outside the space station to measure the mineral content of the world’s desert regions, the source of global dust storms that can impact climate and weather around the world. .

The data collected by the instrument will help scientists learn more about the impact of dust thrown into the atmosphere by deserts on terrestrial ecosystems and human health.

“This is going to be a very busy mission for us,” said Dana Weigel, NASA’s deputy space station program manager. “It is full of a lot of science. The expected duration is approximately 33 days.

The mission was originally scheduled to launch in early June, but SpaceX delayed the flight to resolve a steam leak in the Dragon spacecraft’s propulsion system and replace the capsule’s four main parachutes as a precautionary measure in case the material of the chute would be degraded by the toxic propellant. leak.

ROCKET: Falcon 9 (B1067.5)

PAYLOAD: Cargo Dragon (CRS-25)

LAUNCH SITE: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

RELEASE DATE: July 14, 2022

LAUNCH TIME: 8:44:22 p.m. EDT (12:44:22 a.m. GMT July 15)

WEATHER FORECAST: 70% chance of acceptable weather conditions; Low risk of high winds; Low risk of adverse conditions for booster recovery

BOOSTER RECOVERY: “A Shortfall of Gravitas” drone ship east of Jacksonville, Florida

LAUNCH AZIMUTH: Northeast

TARGET ORBIT: 118 by 130 miles (190 by 210 kilometers), 51.6 degree incline

LAUNCH TIMETABLE:

  • T+00:00: Takeoff
  • T+01:12: Maximum air pressure (Max-Q)
  • T+02:27: First stage main engine shutdown (MECO)
  • T+02:30: Floor separation
  • T+02:38: Second stage engine ignition
  • T+02:43: First stage reverse ignition (three engines)
  • T+03:15: First Stage Amplification Backfire Cutoff
  • T+05:45: First stage inlet combustion ignition (three engines)
  • T+05:59: First Stage Inlet Combustion Cutoff
  • T+07:06: First stage landing burn ignition (one engine)
  • T+07:33: First stage landing
  • T+08:37: Second stage motor shutdown (SECO 1)
  • T+11:49: Cargo Dragon Separation

MISSION STATS:

  • 164th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket since 2010
  • 172nd launch of the Falcon family of rockets since 2006
  • 5th launch of the Falcon 9 booster B1067
  • Launch of the 143rd Falcon 9 from the Space Coast of Florida
  • SpaceX’s 51st launch from pad 39A
  • 145th total launch from pad 39A
  • 106th flight of a repurposed Falcon 9 booster
  • 5th Launch of the Improved Cargo Dragon
  • 25th SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station
  • Launch of the 30th Falcon 9 in 2022
  • SpaceX’s 30th launch in 2022
  • 30th orbital launch based at Cape Canaveral in 2022

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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