The cold light of day is one of those idioms used in conjunction with the grimness of reality, but today’s rousing launch of SpaceX’s third Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station—and its second under the terms of the $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA—experienced no such grimness. For the on-time liftoff of CRS-2 at 10:10 a.m. EST was the first occasion on which an ISS-bound Dragon rose from Earth in daylight; both its inaugural demonstration mission to the station in May 2012 and last October’s first dedicated cargo flight roared aloft in the hours of darkness. READ MORE »
Posts in category Dragon
The weather for tomorrows SpaceX CRS-2 launch predicts an 80% chance of favourable weather for the launch.
With scattered stratocumulus clouds between 4,000 and 6,000 feet and broken altocumulus between 14,000 and 18,000 there should be good visibility. The winds are predicted to be gusty, but below lift-off limits.
With a temperature of 60F it will be quite cool, but there is 0 chance of rain. The main concerns for violation of launch criteria are Thick Clouds and liftoff winds.
The last twelve months have truly been a rollercoaster ride for Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)—the Hawthorne, Calif., company, led by entrepreneur Elon Musk—whose Falcon 9 rocket and unmanned Dragon cargo craft thundered into the public consciousness in both a positive and negative light. In May 2012, Dragon triumphantly flew a demonstration flight to the International Space Station, becoming the first commercial craft ever to have a spacecraft be berthed there, and in October its maiden Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-1) mission under SpaceX’s $1.6 billion contract with NASA was successfully concluded. That success, however, was tempered by an engine-out anomaly, just 80 seconds after launch, which spelled disaster for a small Orbcomm piggyback satellite. Now, almost five months later, another Falcon 9 and fully-loaded Dragon stand ready at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida—primed to restore an otherwise-proud reputation. READ MORE »
The SpaceX launch of the Falcon 9 on the first of the NASA COTS missions code named CRS-1 took place at 8:35pm on Sunday evening. Night launches always create challenging conditions for launch photography, but also some offer some great opportunities as well.
One of the great shots is the long exposure streak shot as the rocket launches and heads off towards the east into the skies. This was enhanced on this launch by some thin clouds that diffused the flames from the rocket engines as it passed through them.
Our launch gallery includes the erection of the Falcon 9 on the pad a few hours before the launch followed by the launch itself. READ MORE »
Yesterday saw the successful and historic launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket boosting the Dragon cargo capsule into orbit. After orbiting the Earth and performing several manoeuvring tests the Dragon capsule executed a de-orbit burn and successfully re-entered the atmosphere and splashed down into the Pacific Ocean. The whole flight from launch to splashdown took just under 3 hours 20 minutes.
This was an incredible mission which managed to perform 100% of it’s milestones and targets, despite an expectation of 60-70% prior to launch. There were a number of firsts on this launch, the most notable was the fact that this was the first (Commercial Orbital Transport Services) COTS mission, and the first commercial spacecraft to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and land.
Youtube: Our launch day video
Technicians are getting ready for the next launch from Cape Canaveral. On Monday 7th December launch complex 40 will see the second test flight from SpaceX when they launch a Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon payload.
This flight is an orbital test of the Dragon capsule. The primary objectives of the flight are: Launch and separate from Falcon 9, orbit Earth, transmit telemetry, receive commands, demonstrate orbital manoeuvring and thermal control, re-enter atmosphere, and recover Dragon spacecraft. It is anticipated that the capsule will perform between one and three orbits of the Earth before re-entering to splash down in the Pacific Ocean.
The Falcon/Dragon mission is part of the new COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) initiative whereby private companies will be contracted to prove and fly manned and unmanned missions to the ISS replacing the Space Shuttle.