SpaceX Launch Attempt Set for 3:44 AM Eastern on Tuesday, May 22nd
- Tomorrow's Launch from Cape Canaveral Would Set the Stage for Historic Test Flight
- First Ever Attempt by a Private Company to Send a Spacecraft to the International Space Station
Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 22nd, at 3:44 AM Eastern, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft to orbit in an exciting start to the mission that will make SpaceX the first commercial company in history to try to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station.
Sending a spacecraft to the space station has only ever been accomplished by four entities – the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Union.
Saturday’s launch was aborted when the flight computer detected slightly high pressure in the engine 5 combustion chamber. During rigorous inspections of the engine, SpaceX engineers discovered a faulty check valve on the Merlin engine. The failed valve was replaced on Saturday and after thorough analysis the vehicle has been cleared for launch.
Mission Highlights: During the mission, Dragon must perform a series of complex tasks, each presenting significant technical challenges (dates subject to change):
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- May 22/Launch Day: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches a Dragon spacecraft into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
- May 23: Dragon orbits Earth as it travels toward the International Space Station.
- May 24: Dragon’s sensors and flight systems are subject to a series of complicated tests to determine if the vehicle is ready to berth with the space station; these tests include maneuvers and systems checks that see the vehicle come within 1.5 miles of the station.
- May 25: NASA decides if Dragon is allowed to attempt to berth with the station. If so, Dragon approaches; it is captured by station’s robotic arm and attached to the station. This requires extreme precision as both Dragon and station orbit the earth every 90 minutes.
- May 26 - 31: Astronauts open Dragon’s hatch, unload supplies and fill Dragon with return cargo.
- May 31: Dragon is detached from the station and returns to Earth, landing in the Pacific, hundreds of miles west of Southern California.
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Source : SpaceX