The SpaceX second demonstration mission for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program is under way, and NASA is updating its coverage of the Dragon spacecraft’s flight to the International Space Station.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon lifted off at 3:44 a.m. EDT Tuesday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. During the flight, the Dragon capsule will conduct a series of checkout procedures to test and prove its systems, including the capability to rendezvous and berth with the space station.
One of the primary objectives for the flight is a flyby of the space station at a distance of approximately 1.5 miles to validate the operation of sensors and flight systems necessary for a safe rendezvous and approach.
The spacecraft also will demonstrate the ability to abort the rendezvous. Once Dragon successfully proves these capabilities, it will be cleared to berth with the space station.
NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will hold a media briefing on Monday, April 16, to preview the SpaceX demonstration mission to the International Space Station, currently scheduled for launch April 30.
The briefing will immediately follow a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) conducted by senior NASA managers, space station partners and SpaceX officials. The review likely will conclude in the early afternoon. The briefing will be broadcast live on NASA Television and on the agency’s website.
During the flight, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will conduct a series of checkout procedures, which will test and prove its systems in advance of the rendezvous with the space station. The primary objectives for the flight include a fly-under of the station at a distance of 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) to validate the operation of sensors and flight systems necessary for a safe rendezvous. The spacecraft also will demonstrate the capability to abort the rendezvous.