SpaceX Dragon to make third ISS visit amid logistics schedule challenges

February 1, 2018 – 11:19 am

NASA's SpX-2 Mission PatchWith less than one week now remaining until the launch of SpaceX’s second operational International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission, preparations to make the orbital outpost ready to receive the Dragon capsule are progressing smoothly. However, resupply flights for the remainder of the year continue to be re-shuffled around a packed and challenging logistics flight manifest.

Dragon’s latest mission:

The upcoming SpaceX Dragon mission will be the third Dragon flight to the ISS, but only the second operational cargo delivery by SpaceX under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.

Dragon ProcessingCommonly known as CRS-2, the mission is designated as SpX-2 within the ISS program, as detailed on a NASA patch for the mission.

The SpX-2 mission is currently targeting a launch on Friday March 1 at around 3:10 PM GMT, or 10:10 AM local time at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, making for the first daylight launch of a Dragon spacecraft to the ISS – hopefully without further “tantrums” from any of the Falcon 9’s first stage Merlin 1C engines, although this mission will be the last flight before the new Falcon 9 v1.1 comes into service featuring improved Merlin 1D engines.

The following day, Saturday March 2 – only one day after launch instead of the two days on the SpX-1 flight – Dragon will rendezvous with the ISS using what are now proven procedures, and be captured by the station’s robotic arm for a berthing to the Node 2 Nadir Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) port, whereupon hatches will be opened and cargo transfers will begin.

Dragon will carry a total of 677 kilograms/1, 493 pounds of cargo to the ISS, of which 102kg/225lb will be packaging materials. Just over half of the cargo (348kg/767lb) will be devoted to experiments for NASA and the European, Japanese, and Canadian space agencies – making around 51 per cent of the total cargo devoted to experiments, which is in line with the previously stated goal that half of the cargo on CRS fights will be devoted to science.

Two GLACIER science freezers will launch on SpX-2, one of them active (powered) and the other passive (unpowered).

Dragon graphic showing Trunk GLACIER Freezer Cupola RWS ISS FCR

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