SpaceX’s latest Cargo Dragon 2 spacecraft, C211, has launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 2:20:43 PM EST (19:20:43 UTC) on Saturday, Nov. 26 from Launch Advanced 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle (KSC). Following an on-time liftoff, Cargo Dragon rendezvoused and docked with the ahead port on the Concord module of the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) at 7:39 AM EST (12:39 UTC) on Sunday, Nov. 27.
An preliminary launch try at 3:54 PM EST (20:54 UTC) on Tuesday, Nov. 22 was scrubbed as a result of climate.
The spacecraft will resupply the Expedition 68 crew aboard the Station and is carrying a second pair of ISS Roll Out Photo voltaic Arrays or iROSAs contained in the unpressurized trunk of the spacecraft. The 2 iROSAs will finally be put in on the outside of the ISS throughout spacewalks at present scheduled for late November and early December.
The Falcon 9 booster supporting this mission was B1076-1, which was launching on its first flight. Following the launch, it landed on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship named Simply Learn the Directions downrange of KSC within the Atlantic Ocean.
The booster was totally different from different SpaceX boosters because it featured fewer SpaceX logos and no Falcon 9 markings (which is regular for Falcon Heavy facet cores), which is a departure from the usual Falcon 9 livery. B1076 shall be used as a Falcon Heavy facet booster core afterward.
The launch on Nov. 26 at LC-39A comes 10 days after NASA’s Area Launch System launched on its maiden flight from LC-39B on the Artemis 1 mission. This marked the closest back-to-back launches from each pads mixed at Launch Advanced 39.
The closest back-to-back launch from the advanced occurred in 1973, when the Skylab house station launched atop the ultimate Saturn V rocket from LC-39A on Could 14, 1973. The primary crew of Skylab then launched atop a Saturn 1B rocket at LC-39B 11 days afterward Could 25, 1973.
The closest Area Shuttle launches to happen from KSC was the launch of STS-71 on June 27, 1995, from LC-39B with Atlantis and the launch of STS-70 15 days afterward Discovery from LC-39A. This marked the shortest time between flights (six days) throughout NASA’s Area Shuttle program.
The launch was initially scheduled for Nov. 21; nevertheless, this date was pushed again to Nov. 22 to handle a leak that occurred within the thermal management system within the cabin onboard Dragon.
On Nov. 20, the drone ship Simply Learn the Directions departed Port Canaveral, Florida, whereas beneath tow from the SpaceX restoration ship named Bob. The duo traveled into the Atlantic Ocean to the primary stage restoration zone off the coast of the Carolinas.
On Nov. 21, Falcon 9 rolled out from the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) at LC-39A. Earlier than this, the Cargo Dragon spacecraft was built-in with the launch car after being fueled with hypergolic propellant at a unique location.
The rocket was rolled out from the HIF on the Transport Erector, or T/E. Earlier than the launch marketing campaign for SpaceX’s CRS-26, Falcon Heavy launched from LC-39A, which required modifications on the T/E. Between missions, the T/E and the pad itself needed to be transformed again to the Falcon 9 and Dragon configuration.
The Falcon 9 rocket was then rotated from horizontal to vertical on the launch pad. Earlier than launch, cargo loading inside Dragon occurred. This exercise makes use of the crew entry arm on the Shuttle-era Fastened Service Construction or FSS.
After the cargo loading was accomplished aboard Cargo Dragon, the arm was retracted on the FSS.
The primary portion of the countdown started on the T-35 minute mark with the start of the launch autosequence. on the similar level within the countdown, fueling operations commenced on the launch vehicl with the loading of RP-1 kerosene on each the primary and second levels of Falcon 9.
At across the similar time that RP-1 started to move into the launch car, liquid oxygen, or LOX, can even started flowing into the primary stage.
On the T-20 minute mark earlier than launch, RP-1 loading was full on the Falcon 9 second stage. At the moment, a big vent emanating from the T/E will occurred, exhibiting that SpaceX and Falcon 9 have been progressing towards the enterprise finish of the countdown.
LOX loading on the second stage started on the T-16 minute mark. Earlier than launch, the T/E was retracted to the launch place.
Quickly after this, Falcon 9 entered what is named “startup.”
Three seconds earlier than launch, the 9 Merlin 1D engines on the primary stage of the Falcon 9 ignited. The ignition of those engines occurred with ignitor fluid referred to as TEA-TEB and seems as a vibrant inexperienced flash.
At T0, the hold-down clamps on the response body on the launch pad launched Falcon 9 and Dragon as they ascended into the sky. On the similar time, the T/E retracted additional to guard it from the launch car.
Falcon 9 subsequent rolled to the correct launch azimuth to take it to a 51.6-degree inclined orbit, enabling it to rendezvous with the ISS. The car then pitched downrange of KSC because it heads over the Atlantic Ocean.
On the finish of the primary stage flight, the 9 Merlin 1D engines shut down and the second stage separated. Following this, the one Merlin MVac engine on the second stage ignited as Dragon continued to ascend to orbit.
The primary stage then performed a flip maneuver utilizing chilly fuel thrusters to flip the stage 180 levels. 4 grid fins on the booster then deployed.
Subsequent, B1076 performed a boostback burn to sluggish the stage down. Quickly after, the stage performed the entry burn to guard it from the warmth of reentry and to sluggish the stage down.
Because it headed into the denser a part of the ambiance, the grid fins on B1076 activated to steer the car. Subsequent, B1076 ignited its engine as soon as once more for the touchdown burn to land itself on Simply Learn the Directions.
At about the identical time, the one MVac engine on the second stage shut down, inserting Dragon into orbit. Quickly after, Dragon separated and continued by itself on its option to the ISS.
(Lead picture: Falcon 9 and Cargo Dragon in flight to the ISS on CRS-26. Credit score: Stephen Marr for NSF)