Dragon COTS 2,3 – Day 1


Falcon 9
Successful Launch of the Dragon Capsule to the ISS
Image Credit: NASA

SpaceX launched their Falcon 9 rocket at 07:44:38 UTC (12:44:38 AM Phoenix time) this morning and placed their Dragon spacecraft on a course to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). Grappling is scheduled for 1206 UTC on Friday.

Elon Musk on Twitter: “Falcon flew perfectly!! Dragon in orbit, comm locked and solar arrays active!! Feels like a giant weight just came off my back :)”

At 0900 UTC, Dragon is now more than an hour into the mission, and scheduled for a co-elliptic (CE1) burn to align itself with the orbit of the ISS.

Flight Day 1 (FD1) events include:

  • 10:10 UTC – Start GNC (Guidance Navigation Control) Bay door deployment, this door holds sensors necessary for rendezvous – completed.
  • 10:24 UTC – Relative navigation sensors checkout, checks LIDAR and Thermal Imager – completed.
  • 16:26 UTC – Demonstrate full abort, demonstrates Dragon’s ability to abort with a continuous burn – completed
  • 17:43 UTC – Pulsed abort demonstration, checks Dragon’s ability to perform abort using pulsating burns – completed
  • 18:21 UTC – Demonstrate Dragon’s ability to free drift – completed

The early morning post-launch press conference is on You Tube. NASA TV schedule is here (EDT).

Press release from SpaceX here. Elon Musk’s comments from the release:

Explaining the significance of the day, Musk stated, “This mission heralds the dawn of a new era of space exploration, one in which there is a significant commercial space element. It is like the advent of the Internet in the mid-1990s when commercial companies entered what was originally a government endeavor. That move dramatically accelerated the pace of advancement and made the Internet accessible to the mass market. I think we’re at a similar inflection point for space. I hope and I believe that this mission will be historic in marking that turning point towards a rapid advancement in space transportation technology.”

Sources indicate that there have been zero (none) issues from the countdown through this point in the mission.

Tweet from Elon: “Navigation bay pointing to deep space and star map being generated by star tracker one. Yes! ‪#DragonLaunch”

At 1733 UTC, Dragon should have completed the full abort during a continuous burn and be coming up on the pulsed abort demonstration. Waiting for confirmation on these events.

At 1828 UTC, Dragon is completing some phasing burns and performing the free drift exercise.he objectives for today.

At 2200 UTC, Dragon has completed the objectives for today. Final data analysis is required for confirmation that the results are within expected parameters. Additional thruster firings will take place tonight and tomorrow as Dragon continues its chase of the Space Station.

Mission Profile for Dragon – Slide 1 – Flight Day 1-3
Image Credit: SpaceX

Note: the fly-under shown after phasing will be at 1.6 miles (or 2.5 km) on Flight Day 3 (FD3)

Dragon Diagram
Main Dragon Spacecraft Systems
Image Credit: SpaceX

Inside Dragon
View Inside Dragon in Orbit
Image Credit: SpaceX


One thought on “Dragon COTS 2,3 – Day 1

  1. Pingback: May 2012 « NSS Phoenix Space News

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