SpaceX Launch Attempt Set for 3:44 AM Eastern on Tuesday, May 22nd
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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.

Source : SpaceX

Published on ASDNews: May 22, 2012

 

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