Recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon Cargo Ship Poised for Dec. 15 Liftoff to International Space Station: Watch Live
Ken Kremer Space UpClose 14 Dec 2017KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – A recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and a recycled Dragon cargo ship are poised for liftoff from the Florida Space Coast Friday morning, Dec. 15 on a resupply mission for NASA bound for the International Space Station (ISS) - and the weather odds look great with less than 12 hours to go!
Blastoff of the ‘flight-proven’ SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon CRS-13 commercial cargo freighter is now slated for 10:36:09 a.m. EST (1536:09 GMT), Friday, Dec. 15 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The launch of the two stage SpaceX Falcon 9 was postponed from Dec. 12 to resolve contamination issues found with the 2 nd stage and ground support issues with pad 40 which has been nearly completely rebuilt since a launch pad explosion last year.
"Taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to detection of particles in 2nd stage fuel system. Now targeting CRS-13 launch from SLC-40 on Dec. 15,” tweeted SpaceX.
The mission has an instantaneous launch time meaning there is no launch window. The rocket must launch at the appointed time or it will be scrubbed. U.S. Air Force meteorologists with the 45 th Space Wing Weather Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base say the odds are 90 % GO for favorable conditions at launch time. The primary weather concern is for thick clouds.
For the first time in the history of SpaceX’s commercial resupply services (CRS) contract for NASA, both the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon resupply ship are reused vehicles that previously flew on missions to space and were recovered and recycled.
The Dragon CRS-13 cargo mission under contract to NASA was recently announced as the inaugural liftoff from the pad 40 structure which has been almost completely rebuilt and upgraded since a devastating explosion in Sept 2016
If you can’t personally be here to witness the launch in Florida, you can always watch NASA’s live coverage on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The SpaceX/Dragon CRS-13 launch coverage will be broadcast on NASA TV beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 15 with additional commentary on the NASA launch blog.
SpaceX will also offer their own live webcast beginning approximately 10 minutes before launch at about 10:26 p.m. EsT.
You can watch the launch live at NASA TV
You can also watch the launch live at SpaceX hosted Webcast
In the event of delay for any reason, the next launch opportunity comes in late December.
“Next launch opportunity would be no earlier than late December," said SpaceX.
The 20-foot high, 12-foot- diameter Dragon CRS-13 vessel will carry about 4,800 pounds of science experiments, research gear, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting outpost and stay about 4 weeks.
Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news.