SpaceX Poised for Next Space Station Launch Attempt Early Saturday Morning

November 12, 2016 – 12:49 pm

The CRS-5 Falcon-9 with Dragon on the pad after calling off the first launch attempt days ago. Photo Credit: AmericaSpace / Mike KillianBy Mike Killian

SpaceX is poised to try igniting their Falcon-9 v1.1 booster again early tomorrow morning, kicking off the United States’ 2015 space launch manifest with the CRS-5 Dragon to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) after having resolved a technical issue which days ago. The mission, which is the fifth such flight under SpaceX’s $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA, aimed for a precise 1-second launch window, and came within less than two minutes before falling victim to a “HOLD HOLD HOLD” call by the launch team when drift on one of two “thrust vector actuators” was observed on the booster’s second stage.

The Hawthorne, CA-based company has released little details, only stating that they are proceeding with a Jan. 10 launch attempt, and so it’s all systems GO for another try at 4:47 a.m EST from Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Fla. The current weather forecast calls for an 80% chance of acceptable conditions for launch and temperatures in the low 50’s, with the primary concern being thick clouds.

Dragon is packed with over 5, 000 pounds of supplies, cargo and experiments for the Expedition 42 crew (and later Expedition 43) onboard the ISS, including critical materials to support 256 science and research investigation. A new set of which were lost months ago when an Orbital Sciences seconds after liftoff are onboard, as well as NASA’s (CATS) remote sensing instrument, which will go to work on the ISS to investigate the layers and composition of clouds and small particles like dust, smoke, and other aerosols in the atmosphere to help scientists better understand how aerosols impact weather and climate across the planet. Another experiment being flown will study planarian flatworms, which are capable of rebuilding body organs and nervous systems after damage, to better understand the process of wound healing in space.

An IMAX camera is hitching a ride on Dragon to the ISS too for filming during four increments, along with various tools that will be used in future spacewalks to prepare the station for the installation of new international docking adapters.

The launch itself, however, will mark another historic first for SpaceX in an ever growing list of firsts that the company has accomplished in the last several years. At about 3:00 into flight the Falcon-9 first stage booster will separate as always, its job done, but instead of tumbling back to Earth for a watery grave in the Atlantic it will re-ignite and in an attempt to land on the company’s “Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship” (ASDS), which is a barge positioned 200 miles offshore of the Florida / South Carolina border.


Source: www.americaspace.com

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