On January 10, 2015 a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) as part of CRS 5, the fifth SpaceX mission to the International Space Station (ISS) not counting the two COTS demos.

After boost phase, the first stage of the Falcon 9 attempted to fly to a predetermined location in the Atlantic where a barge or “drone spaceport” as Elon Musk refers to it, was waiting its arrival. The first stage arrived at the barge but with the grid fins having run out of hydraulic fluid upon arrival control was lost and the rocket crash landed. All in all, a massive step forward in rocket reusability was achieved and Musk says that next month’s flight will have 50% more hydraulic fluid, giving it more than enough to complete the mission.

As far as Dragon, it’s safely on its way to the ISS where it is scheduled to arrive with 3,800 lbs. of cargo on Monday, January 12 around 06:12 EDT for grappling. NASA TV coverage begins at 04:30 EDT and Harmony module berthing coverage begins at 08:15 EDT.

This was Falcon 9’s 14th flight (F9-14), Falcon 9 v1.1 (F9v1.1) 9th flight, the 5th of 12 contracted ISS resupply missions (CRS-5 or SpaceX-5), 3rd flight with landing legs and 1st flight with grid fins and drone spaceport barge.


NASA TV Ustream:

Elon Musk Twitter:

SpaceX Twitter:

SpaceX Facebook:


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3 Responses to LAUNCH OF SPACEX CRS 5

  1. About every hydraulic system on Earth has a return path for the operating fluid. I was surprised to discover that it is a standard practice in rockets to use open-ended hydraulic systems. That is, the fluid operates the steering mechanism (or whathaveyou) and then is dumped overboard. That has doomed at least one launch I have heard of, when the steering mechanism went into resonant gyrations.
    I reckon it is a trade-off in terms of time of operation and weight of the return-flow plumbing.

    • AstroDan77 says:

      Yep exactly. My question with this system is when the time comes, how is the rocket going to make it all the way back to KSC and land? They’re going to have to land on the barge every time, inspect the rocket, re-fill the hydraulic fluid then send it off vs. a straight shot from fall away to landing. It will be interesting to see for sure.

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