SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon ISS cargo mission eyes March 30 launch window

May 6, 2018 – 04:58 pm

CRS-3 MatingSpaceX will launch the Dragon spacecraft on the next supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 30, if everything goes according to plan. Liftoff will take place aboard a Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

The CRS-3 mission was originally planned for launch of 16 March. Blastoff was delayed due to concerns over possible payload contamination. Material discovered on the imaging and communications equipment aboard the Dragon spacecraft was deemed to not pose a significant risk to the mission.

Liftoff is scheduled for 10:50 p.m. EDT, on Sunday night. Live coverage of the launch will begin around 9:45 p.m., broadcasted on the NASA Channel. The day before launch, mission engineers and specialists will host a pre-launch news conference at 1 p.m. EDT. A backup date of 2 April is planned in the event the next launch attempt is scrubbed.

If the SpaceX mission gets underway on schedule, the Dragon spacecraft will arrive at the space station on 2 April, at about 7 a.m. Eastern time. The capture and berthing of the Dragon capsule will be broadcasted on the space agency's television channel, starting at 5:45 a.m. Eastern time.

SpaceX designed the Falcon 9 with safety and reusability as primary concerns.

"As the first rocket completely developed in the 21st century, Falcon 9 was designed from the ground up for maximum reliability. Falcon 9's simple two-stage configuration minimizes the number of separation events - and with nine first-stage engines, it can safely complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown, " SpaceX managers wrote on their website.

This was the first commercial launch system capable of reaching the International Space Station, which it first reached in 2012. The rocket is also capable of delivering humans to space. That goal has yet to be reached in the program.


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  • avatar Can you tell me when SpaceX's Elon Musk vowed to make orbit?
    • A private company called SpaceX launched its 3rd rocket which failed a few minutes after launch. Stages failed to separate in the rocket, which caused the rocket to go off course and fail structurally. It was launched from an island in the Pacific Ocean, so there is no danger of debris falling on populated areas. I am sure the company is insured for such an eventuality.