SpaceX says All Systems GO for Historic May 19 Blast Off to ISS

by Ken Kremer on May 18, 2012

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

SpaceX Dragon approaches the ISS on COTS 2 test flight slated for May 19 liftoff and docking on Day 4. Astronauts will grapple it with the robotic arm and berth it at the Earth facing port of the Harmony node. Illustration: NASA /SpaceX

In less than 48 hours, SpaceX is primed to make history and launch the first ever commercial rocket and spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) early Saturday morning on May 19.

Following today’s Launch Readiness Review (LRR), SpaceX was just given the official “GO” from NASA to proceed with the blastoff of the Falcon 9 at 4:55 a.m. EDT (0855 GMT) from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This also marks the first night time liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket.

“Just passed final launch review with NASA”, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted this evening. “All systems go for liftoff on Sat morn”.

The SpaceX developed Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft is bolted on top of the two stage Falcon 9 rocket and stands 157 feet tall for the mission dubbed “COTS 2”. The Falcon 9 booster generates 1 million pounds of thrust

The official Air Force weather forecast gives a 70% chance of acceptable conditions for launch. The primary concern for launch day is a violation of the Cumulus Cloud Rule. On the heels of a significant drought, stormy weather has rolled into the Florida Space Coast and thunder is striking the area at the moment.

In the event of a launch scrub, the next launch opportunity comes in three days on May 22.

The launch will be broadcast live on NASA TV and via SpaceX Webcast at http://spacex.com

This SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket inside the processing hanger at Pad 40 is due for liftoff on May 19, 2012 to the ISS. Credit: Ken Kremer/www.kenkremer.com

Technicians plan to roll the Falcon 9/Dragon duo out to the seaside launch pad tonight. The rocket will be moved on rail tracks about 600 feet from the processing hanger to the pad and vertically erected.

The purpose of Dragon is to carry supplies up to orbit and dock at the ISS and partially replace the capabilities of NASA’s now retired space shuttle. Dragon is a commercial spacecraft designed and developed by SpaceX.

SpaceX is under contract with NASA to conduct twelve resupply missions to the ISS to carry cargo back and forth for a cost of some $1.6 Billion.

The Dragon spacecraft is loaded with nearly 1200 pounds of non-critical cargo such as food and clothing on this flight. A collection of student experiments, commemorative patches, pins and emblems will also be on board Dragon’s upcoming test flight.

On Friday, Ken will be reporting from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral.

Ken Kremer

About 

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Mastercope May 18, 2012 at 2:16 AM

God Speed SpaceX.

SalinasMorris May 18, 2012 at 11:49 PM

my roomat e’s e x-w ife got p aid $ 15158 the prior we ek. she is m aking an inc ome on th e lapt op and g ot a $ 5848 00 h ome. A ll she di d was g et fort unate and s et to wo rk the ad vice sh own o n th is we b si te ===>> ?????? http://hiringfreelancers.blogspot.com

Ancient Brit May 18, 2012 at 8:38 AM

An historic moment and the beginning of a new era, IMHO. I feel the same level of excitement and awe that I felt when the first Moon landing took place – thank you for giving me that, SpaceX!

ali poursamar May 18, 2012 at 9:16 AM

we are so fortunate to live during this historic moment of human history. no matter what would be the outcome of upcoming lunch, years from now, 2012 would be remembered as the year when human species embark on taking the road leading to multi-planetary life.

squidgeny May 18, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I think the Moon landing will still be remembered as the milestone for that… at least, until we put a man on Mars

krenshala May 18, 2012 at 6:25 PM

I agree the moon landing was the first milestone, but this launch (assuming all goes well) is most definitely a major milestone on the road to getting at least some of our eggs out of this one basket.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: