SpaceX CRS-15 from Cape Canaveral This Week

Image credit & copyright: SpaceX. Live stream link and press kit updates are typically the day prior.

LAUNCH ALERT! Friday, June 29, 2018 at 05:41 EDT (09:41 UTC and 02:41 PDT) SpaceX Falcon 9 (core 1045.2) previously flown on NASA’s TESS mission will be launching from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) as part of Commercial Resupply Service 14 (CRS-14 or SPX-14) to resupply the International Space Station (ISS). Dragon (C-111.2 & D1-17) which previously flew on CRS-9 will be captured and berthed to the nadir (Earth facing) side of Station’s Harmony module (Node-2) where it will remain for approximately one month before returning to Earth. At roughly 71 days, this will almost double the fastest turnaround time of a booster to date. Current record is about 135 days. Also SpaceX in the past as SpaceX had reused Dragon capsules, they’ve been adding blue sortie stickers to designate past missions so keep an eye out for this one when it’s berthed to Station. The Dragon image that I’ve shown below displays one of these stickers so have a look.

Stats: This will be SpaceX’s 12th launch of 2018 and the 63rd SpaceX flight overall (5 Falcon 1, 57 Falcon 9, 1 Falcon Heavy). At this time it doesn’t appear that a landing attempt will be made so SpaceX’s landing successes will likely stand at 25; 14 on drone ships and 11 on land.

Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ships (ASDS) were built at the Conrad Shipyard in Morgan City, Louisiana, the same place that NASA’s Pegasus barge was refitted to support the SLS program. Pegasus carried lots of equipment throughout the years but most famously the space shuttle external fuel tanks from NASA’s Michaud Plant in Louisiana to KSC.

SpaceX’s barges are 300 by 100 ft. with “wings” that extend that width to 170 ft. It has also been fitted with thrusters repurposed from deep sea oil rigs that are able to hold balance and position to within 3 meters even in storm conditions. ASDS’s are painted black with the SpaceX “X” logo, a yellow inner ring and outer white ring acting as a bull eye. The East Coast will soon have two drone ships. The current ASDS is “Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY)” and soon to join it will be “A Shortfall Of Gravitas (ASOG)” and the West Coast’s ship is “Just Read The Instructions (JRTI).”

In total there have been three ASDS’s. The first of which was Marmac 300, a deck barge named “Just Read The Instructions (JRTI).” That ASDS was used for two east coast landing attempts (CRS 5 & 6), deconstructed and retired. East Coast duties were then transferred to Marmac 304 named “Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY).” A third ASDS, Marmac 303 was constructed and stationed on the West Coast where it fields launches from Vandenberg AFB, CA. Its name, “Just Read The Instructions (JRTI).”

These fun yet odd names come from Scottish Sci-fi legend Iain Banks’s “Culture” series of 10 novels. They are spacecraft known as General Contact Units (GCU’s) from the novel “Player of Games.” Other spacecraft in the series (which get to name themselves) are even more entertaining such as “Size Isn’t Everything,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Death and Gravity.” Here’s a fun Wiki page with more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spacecraft_in_the_Culture_series

The SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket:

Height: 70m (229.6 ft.)

Core Diameter: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Width at Base: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Stages: 2

Boosters: 0

Total Engines: 10 (9 in the first stage and 1 in the second stage)

Total Liftoff Thrust (sea level/vacuum): 7,607 kN (1,710,000 lbf) / 8,227 kN (1,849,500 lbf)

Gross Mass: 549,054 kg (1,207,920 lb.)

Payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO): 22,800 kg (50,265 lb.)

Payload to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO): 8,300 kg (18,300 lb.)

Payload to Mars: 4,020 kg (8.860 lb.)

Cost: $62 million

Dragon Spacecraft (when in use): The Dragon spacecraft is about 23.6 ft. (7.2 m) tall with trunk attached and 12 ft. (3.7 m) wide. It’s comprised of two main sections; the pressurized cargo area which can carry 388 cubic ft. of cargo as well as the unpressurized cargo area. The trunk (unpressurized area) carries 494 cubic ft. of cargo as well as the solar arrays. Dragon, along with Russia’s Progress & Soyuz, Europe’s (ESA) Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), Orbital ATK’s Cygnus and Japan’s (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), is one of only six vehicles that can fly to the Space Station. While Russia’s Soyuz is currently the only crewed means of reaching and returning from Station, SpaceX’s Dragon is currently the only means of returning experiments and supplies back to Earth from Station.

Main Composite Payload Fairing (when in use): the two shell, composite payload fairing is 13 m (43 ft.) in length and 5.2 m (17 ft.) in diameter. The fairings are used to protect the spacecraft during ascent through atmospheric turbulence and into space. Once the rocket has reached a safe altitude the fairings jettisoned, exposing the spacecraft(s).

SpaceX Falcon 9/Falcon Heavy Second Stage:

Height: 10 m. (33 ft.)

Diameter: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Engine(s): Single Merlin Vacuum Engine

Engine Chambers: 1

Engine Type: Gas generator

Propellant Feed Method: Turbopump

Chamber Pressure: 9.7 MPa or 97 bars or 1,410 psi

Fuel Type: Liquid

Fuel: Chilled Rocket propellant-1 (RP-1) or highly refined kerosene. Lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen (LH2) but is cheaper, room temperature stable, less explosive and denser. RP-1 is much more powerful than LH2 by volume and much less toxic than other room temperature fuels such as hydrazine (N2H4).

Oxidizer: Subcooled Liquid Oxygen (LOX). LOX is often coupled with rocket propellant-1 (RP-1), liquid hydrogen (LH2) and methane (CH4) as it creates a high specific impulse.

Thrust (vacuum): 934 kN (210,000 lbf.)

Single Merlin 1D Thrust to Weight Ratio: 180.1 

Specific Impulse (vacuum): 348 s

Burn Time: 397 s

Restart Ability: Yes

Reusable?: No

SpaceX Falcon 9/Falcon Heavy Interstage: The interstage is a 4.4m (14.4 ft.) composite structure that connects the first stage to the second stage and holds the release and separation system. It’s an all pneumatic stage separation system for low shock, highly reliable separation that can be tested on the ground, unlike pyrotechnic systems used on most launch vehicles.

SpaceX Falcon 9 First Stage: First stage boosters are fitted with four independently steerable titanium grid fins that help control pitch, yaw and roll during vertical decent as well as four landing legs that extend before touchdown.

Height: 47 m. (154 ft.)

Diameter: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Width at Base: 3.66 m (12 ft.)

Engine(s): 9 Merlin 1D Engines

Engine Chambers: 1

Engine Type (cycle): Gas generator/Open-cycle

Propellant Feed Method: Turbopump

Chamber Pressure: 9.7 MPa or 97 bars or 1,410 psi

Fuel Type: Liquid

Fuel: Chilled Rocket propellant-1 (RP-1) or highly refined kerosene. Lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen (LH2) but is cheaper, room temperature stable, less explosive and denser. RP-1 is much more powerful than LH2 by volume and much less toxic than other room temperature fuels such as hydrazine (N2H4).

Oxidizer: Subcooled Liquid Oxygen (LOX). LOX is often coupled with rocket propellant-1 (RP-1), liquid hydrogen (LH2) and methane (CH4) as it creates a high specific impulse.

Single Merlin 1D Thrust (sea level/vacuum): 845 kN (189,964 lbf.)/914 kN (205,475 lbf.

Single Merlin 1D Thrust to Weight Ratio: 180.1

Total Liftoff Thrust (sea level): 7,607 kN (1,710,000 lbf) / 8,227 kN (1,849,500 lbf)

Specific Impulse (sea level/vacuum): 282 s/311 s

Burn Time: 162 s

Restart Ability: Partially (1 or 3 engines can restart for landing actions)

Reusable?: Yes

Watch Live:

NASA TV: www.nasa.gov/ntv

SpaceX Webcast: http://www.spacex.com/webcast/

SpaceX YouTube (Hosted Webcast): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycMagB1s8XM

Mission Info:

45th Space Wing L-1 Weather Forecast (East Coast Launches Only): http://www.patrick.af.mil/About-Us/Weather

SpaceX Press Kit: http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/crs15presskit.pdf

NASA CRS-15 Mission Overview: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacex/2018/06/21/dragon-set-to-deliver-supplies-to-international-space-station-2/

NASA SpaceX page: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/spacex.html

NASA CRS-15 Briefings & Events: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/spacex-crs-15-briefings-and-events

NASA SpaceX Blog: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacex/

Launch Campaign (Reddit): https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/8pua1m/crs15_launch_campaign_thread/

General 2018 Launch Schedule (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_in_spaceflight

NASA:

All NASA social Media: https://www.nasa.gov/socialmedia

ISS Images: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/images/index.html

SpaceX:

SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/

Elon Musk Twitter: https://twitter.com/elonmusk

Elon Musk Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elonmusk

SpaceX Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpaceX

SpaceX Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spacex

SpaceX YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/spacexchannel

SpaceX Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SpaceX

SpaceX Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spacexphotos

Falcon 9 Family & Random SpaceX Information:

SpaceX Falcon 9: http://www.spacex.com/falcon9

SpaceX Falcon 9 User’s Guide: http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/falcon_9_users_guide_rev_2.0.pdf

SpaceX Falcon Heavy: http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy

SpaceX Falcon 9 Spaceflight 101: http://spaceflight101.com/spacerockets/falcon-9-ft/

SpaceX Falcon 9 (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9

SpaceX Falcon Heavy (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_Heavy

SpaceX launches (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_and_Falcon_Heavy_launches

SpaceX Booster Cores: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_first-stage_boosters

SpaceX booster landing attempts (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_booster_controlled-descent_and_landing_tests

Falcon 9 core (booster) serial numbers: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/wiki/cores

SpaceX Stats: https://spacexstats.com/

SpaceX Now: https://spacexnow.com/

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft:

SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/dragon

SpaceX Crew Dragon: http://www.spacex.com/crew-dragon

Dragon serial numbers: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/wiki/capsules

Dragon (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Dragon

Launch Complex-39A (LC-39A):

NASA Launch Complex 39 (LC-39): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/launch/launch-complex39-toc.html

Heroicrelics Launch Complex 39 (LC-39): http://heroicrelics.org/info/lc-39/lc-39-abcd.html

Wiki Launch Complex 39 (LC-39): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennedy_Space_Center_Launch_Complex_39

Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) Cape Canaveral:

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Canaveral_Air_Force_Station_Space_Launch_Complex_40

Patrick AFB: 45th Space Wing, Cape Canaveral, Florida:

Main Site: http://www.patrick.af.mil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/45thSpaceWing

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/45thSpaceWing

Vandenberg AFB, 30th Space Wing, CA:

Vandenberg AFB launch complex locations & viewing locations: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1eJ71ff_mISR9o8ndMX7nwrvQlTw&hl=en_US&ll=34.6567746365756%2C-120.51221950488281&z=12

Vandenberg AFB : http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/30thSpaceWing

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/30thSpaceWing

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/30SWVandenberg

Peterson AFB, U.S. Air Force Space Command, Colorado: 

Website: http://www.afspc.af.mil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AFSpace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AirForceSpaceCommand

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/airforcespacecommand

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