Images credit & copyright: SpaceX and NASA.
LAUNCH ALERT! Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 02:48 EST (07:48 UTC) SpaceX Falcon 9 (core 1051.1) will be launching from NASA’s legendary Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center carrying, for the first time, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft (Dragon D2-1 or C201) as part of Demonstration Mission 1 (DM-1) for NASA’s Commercial Crew contract. This first of two demonstration missions to the International Space Station (ISS) will be uncrewed and if successful an in-flight abort test with the same spacecraft will take place this summer and if that succeeds then DM-2 will likely follow later this year and be the first to carry astronauts (Doug Hurley & Bob Behnken) into space from the United States since the launch of STS-135 Atlantis, which launched from the same launch pad on July 8, 2011. This will end the longest drought in U.S. human spaceflight history. The longest drought prior to this was the gap between the landing of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project on July 24, 1975 and the first launch of the Space Shuttle, STS-1 Columbia on April 12, 1981.
The timeline for this mission calls for launch from KSC and booster landing on March 2 (Sat), with rendezvous and autonomous docking to Station taking place on the 3rd (Sun) where Dragon will deliver roughly 400 pounds of supplies and a “Starman” in full SpaceX flight suit for monitoring. Dragon is scheduled to remain at station until March 8 (Sat) when it will undock, deorbit and splashdown to complete a successful mission.
Stats: This will be SpaceX’s 3rd launch of 2019 and the 75th SpaceX flight overall (5 Falcon 1, 69 Falcon 9, 1 Falcon Heavy). Mission parameters will allow for a landing on SpaceX’s East Coast Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) “Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY)” which will bring to total successful landings to 35; 22 on drone ships and 13 on land.