Skip to comments.Falcon 9 rocket is go for overnight launch attempt (3:44 a.m. EDT/12:44 a.m. PDT)
Posted on 05/21/2012 11:24:23 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine
SpaceX has swapped out a faulty check valve on a Merlin engine on the Falcon 9 rocket and approved plans for a second launch attempt at 3:44 a.m. EDT (0744 GMT) Tuesday. You can follow the entire flight on Spaceflight Now with live video and comprehensive coverage.
Computers aborted the countdown a half-second before launch Saturday due to high pressure in one of the Falcon 9 rocket's nine first stage engines. Engineers opted to replace a check valve in the first stage's center engine - engine No. 5 - after inspections.
"The failed valve was replaced on Saturday and after thorough analysis the vehicle has been cleared for launch," SpaceX said in a statement.
Liftoff is targeted for 3:44:38 a.m. EDT (0744:38 GMT), the moment Earth's rotation brings Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad in the path of the space station's orbit.
The Dragon spacecraft should be captured by the International Space Station's robotic arm at about 8:06 a.m. EDT (1206 GMT) on Friday.
The weather forecast shows an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions for Tuesday's launch opportunity. The primary threat is violating the cumulus cloud rule.
Tropical Storm Alberto, now located about 175 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla., will not be a factor for Tuesday morning's launch, according to U.S. Air Force forecasters.
Dry air is prevalent over the Space Coast, and light winds are expected from the west-northwest today becoming variable overnight," Air Force meteorologists wrote in a forecast synopsis. "Given this favorable weather pattern, there is only a slight chance of isolated showers which will likely be offshore along the Gulf Stream."
The outlook calls for a few clouds at 3,000 feet and scattered clouds at 12,000 feet. The temperature is forecast to be 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and winds will be variable at 5 knots.
Countdown procedures tonight should begin around 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT) with the power-up of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft.
What’s the fuel Jack? Hydrazine?
The fuel in the Falcon 9 is kerosene and liquid oxygen.
Tropical Storm Alberto has cleared the air south of Jacksonville so this should be a cool launch to view...wait, 3:44 am... hmmm... naaaa.
I rode over for the first attempt and will probably ride over tonight. Any Freepers go to watch launches in person?
I’d love to, but I’m up in VA.
I was just foolin’ with Jack! Hydrazine is used in rocket fuel.
Actually, it’s RP-1 (kerosene).
Jack, Hydrazine is N2H4.
I thought you were asking about the fuel for the Falcon 9!
Come on Yall, I thought it was a clever play on words.
Some people have no sense of humor.
And N204 is hypergolic with hydrazine.
Yup! I was just playing around with Jack’s name. Name/word juxtaposition. I was trying to by humorous,,,,, obviously didn’t work!
Thanks Jack Hydrazine.
Now I see it! LOL!
Email from SpaceX:
SpaceX Launch Attempt Set for 3:44 AM Eastern on Tuesday, May 22nd
Tomorrows Launch from Cape Canaveral Would Set the Stage for Historic Test Flight
First Ever Attempt by a Private Company to Send a Spacecraft to the International Space Station
Hawthorne, CA Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 22nd, at 3:44 AM Eastern, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft to orbit in an exciting start to the mission that will make SpaceX the first commercial company in history to try to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station.
Sending a spacecraft to the space station has only ever been accomplished by four entities the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Union.
Saturdays launch was aborted when the flight computer detected slightly high pressure in the engine 5 combustion chamber. During rigorous inspections of the engine, SpaceX engineers discovered a faulty check valve on the Merlin engine. The failed valve was replaced on Saturday and after thorough analysis the vehicle has been cleared for launch.
SpaceX will webcast the launch live at www.SpaceX.com starting at 3:00 AM Eastern.
After launch, NASA will host a press conference that will include SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and President Gwynne Shotwell. It will be live on NASA TV or webcast at www.NASA.gov/ntv.
Detailed information on the mission is available in the SpaceX launch press kit: http://www.spacex.com/downloads/COTS-2-Press-Kit-5-14-12.pdf
Throughout the mission high-resolution photos will be posted at spacexlaunch.zenfolio.com and broadcast quality videos will be posted at vimeo.com/spacexlaunch.
Mission Highlights: During the mission, Dragon must perform a series of complex tasks, each presenting significant technical challenges (dates subject to change):
May 22/Launch Day: SpaceXs Falcon 9 rocket launches a Dragon spacecraft into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
May 23: Dragon orbits Earth as it travels toward the International Space Station.
May 24: Dragons sensors and flight systems are subject to a series of complicated tests to determine if the vehicle is ready to berth with the space station; these tests include maneuvers and systems checks that see the vehicle come within 1.5 miles of the station.
May 25: NASA decides if Dragon is allowed to attempt to berth with the station. If so, Dragon approaches; it is captured by stations robotic arm and attached to the station. This requires extreme precision as both Dragon and station orbit the earth every 90 minutes.
May 26 - 31: Astronauts open Dragons hatch, unload supplies and fill Dragon with return cargo.
May 31: Dragon is detached from the station and returns to Earth, landing in the Pacific, hundreds of miles west of Southern California.
This is SpaceX’s second demonstration flight under a 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement with NASA to develop the capability to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station. The purpose of the flight is to provide NASA and SpaceX with flight data needed to ensure successful future missions to the space station. Demonstration launches are conducted to determine potential issues so that they might be addressed and by their very nature carry a significant risk. If any aspect of the mission is not successful, SpaceX will learn from the experience and try again.
SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches the worlds most advanced rockets and spacecraft. With a diverse manifest of 40 launches to deliver commercial and government satellites to orbit, SpaceX is the worlds fastest growing launch services provider. In 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company in history to put a spacecraft into orbit and return it safely to Earth. With the retirement of the space shuttle, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft will soon carry cargo, and one day astronauts, to and from the Space Station for NASA. Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has over 1,800 employees in California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Florida. For more information, visit www.SpaceX.com.
At least I wasn’t a total failure Jack! Hydrazine is crazy stuff!
Is it just coincidence that the problem again is engine #5, The CENTER engine?