View Full Version : SpaceX Dragon SPX-1: ISS resupply (Titanium umbrellas?)

Dr Mordrid
5th September 2012, 13:32
On Aug 31, 2012 SpaceX conducted a full wet dress rehearsal (WDR) for its scheduled Oct 8 2012 08:12 PM EST launch of SPX-1, its first fully operational cargo Dragon resupply mission to the ISS.

In a WDR the Falcon 9 is rolled out, fueled and the countdown run down to the very moment before engine ignition. Then the tanks are drained, the F9 is rolled back to the hangar and everything is checked out. Later another rehearsal will include a "hot-fire" - a 3-4 second engine burn to check them out too. This usually tales place a few days before launch. During the recent WDR the Dragon and its cargo trunk were not attached, but they likely will be for the hot-fire.

Non-ISS cargo for this flight will include a prototype ORBCOMM OG2 communications satellite built by Sierra Nevada Corp. (also builders of the Dream Chaser spaceplane.) If all goes well 17 more ORBCOMM's will be lofted on later F9 flights.

This will be the next to last flight for the Falcon 9 v1.0 before the much larger and powerful Falcon 9 v1.1 comes into service. The F9 v1.1 will also be the core stage of the monster Falcon Heavy.

Gallery -





Dr Mordrid
20th September 2012, 16:26

NASA TV Schedule
October 7, Sunday

7 p.m. - Launch Coverage for the SpaceX/Dragon CRS-1 Mission to the International Space Station (Launch scheduled at 8:34 p.m. ET) - KSC (All Channels)

Dr Mordrid
22nd September 2012, 18:33
Email from SpaceX -


NASA and SpaceX have announced October 7, 2012 as the target launch date for SpaceX’s first resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for 8:34 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral, Florida. October 8 is the backup date.

The launch represents the first of 12 SpaceX flights to the ISS under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract, and follows a successful demonstration mission in May when SpaceX became the first private company ever to attach to the ISS and return safely to Earth.

The SpaceX CRS-1 mission also represents restoration of American capability to deliver and return cargo to the ISS—a feat not achievable since the retirement of the space shuttle. SpaceX is also contracted to develop Dragon to send crew to the space station. SpaceX’s first manned flight is expected to take place in 2015.

On this mission, Dragon will be filled with supplies, which include materials to support 166 experiments in plant cell biology, human biotechnology, and materials technology. One experiment will examine the effects of microgravity on the opportunistic yeast Candida albicans, which is present on all humans. Another will evaluate how microgravity affects the growth of cell walls in a plant called Arabidopsis.

Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams of NASA and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will use a robotic arm to grapple Dragon following its rendezvous with the station, expected on October 10. They will attach Dragon to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony module for a few weeks while crew members unload cargo and load experiment samples for return to Earth.

Dragon is scheduled to return in late October for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California. Dragon will fly back carrying scientific materials and space station hardware.

Dr Mordrid
29th September 2012, 21:21

SpaceX tests rocket engines on pad

SpaceX says it successfully test-fired the engines on its Falcon 9 rocket today in preparation for Oct. 7's scheduled liftoff of the California-based company's first official cargo delivery to the International Space Station.

The static-fire test at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida was considered the "last major test" in advance of the launch, SpaceX said in a Twitter update. The rocket was held down while its nine Merlin engines blazed for a couple of seconds on the pad, at the end of a computer-controlled fueling sequence. Data from the test will be analyzed in advance of the scheduled launch at 8:34 p.m. ET on Oct. 7.



Dr Mordrid
4th October 2012, 18:56
Livestream mission link (SpaceX show channel)


Dr Mordrid
5th October 2012, 18:45
Posted 10/5/12 6:04 PM

@SpaceX: At today’s official Launch Readiness Review meeting, launch managers gave a “go” to proceed towards launch on Sunday, 10/7

Ofher sources say launch at 8:35 PM

Dr Mordrid
7th October 2012, 07:54
Via FB

Early in the morning, the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft rolled out to the launch pad. Engineers now complete final preparations for launch, targeted for 8:35PM ET tonight.

Dr Mordrid
7th October 2012, 18:07
Launch: perfect

Flight to orbit: perfect near perfect - see next post

Dragon is in orbit, her solar wings are deployed and arrival at ISS is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Unfinished business: putting an Orbcomm communications satellite into its geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Dr Mordrid
7th October 2012, 20:02

With most all rockets if an engine fails the range safety officer blows it up as there isn't enough power remaining to continue the launch. End of mission, everything is lost.

An engine-out capability prevents this.

NASA had engine-out capability with the 5 engine Saturn V moon rocket, but not since. SpaceX has picked up that ball and is running with it because F9's engine-out capability has been proven during this launch.

At about 01:20 into the flight there was an anomaly on engine #1 as F9 entered a cloud bank. Speculation is that engine 1's turbopump, which delivers the fuel & oxidizer, blew out spewing debris.

F9 is designed with armor plate and ballistic blankets (Kevlar) around each engine to catch the debris from such an events, so the F9's computer just shut down that engines fuel and oxidizer valves then burned the others a bit longer. Problem solved.

Result: the Dragon and Orbcomm satellite are now in their proper orbits in spite of an engine failure.

This engine-out capability makes Falcon 9 a very safe rocket.

Dr Mordrid
7th October 2012, 20:36
Engine-out confirmed

SpaceFlightNow -

"Falcon 9 detected an anomaly on one of the nine engines and shut it down," Musk wrote in an email... "As designed, the flight computer then recomputed a new ascent profile in realtime to reach the target orbit, which is why the burn times were a bit longer."

Slow motion video of the event. Watch the top-right engine and you'll see the flameout and possible RUD ("rapid unscheduled disassembly" - an Elon Musk-ism.)

Remember: with any other US (and AFAIK foreign) launcher since Saturn V this would cause the flight termination (abort) system to destroy the rocket. Not so with Falcon 9.


Dr Mordrid
7th October 2012, 23:12
Full Elon Musk statement -

Falcon 9 detected an anomaly on one of the nine engines and shut it down. As designed, the flight computer then recomputed a new ascent profile in realtime to reach the target orbit, which is why the burn times were a bit longer. Like Saturn V, which experienced engine loss on two flights, the Falcon 9 is designed to handle an engine flameout and still complete its mission. I believe F9 is the only rocket flying today that, like a modern airliner, is capable of completing a flight successfully even after losing an engine. There was no effect on Dragon or the Space Station resupply mission.

8th October 2012, 05:57
Brilliant :)

Dr Mordrid
8th October 2012, 15:43
SpaceX statement. No explosion, just a rather exciting shutdown sequence.

Of note: Apollo 6 lost 2 engines on its second stage and Apollo 13 lost the center engine of its first stage.

The Dragon spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station this morning and is performing nominally following the launch of the SpaceX CRS-1 official cargo resupply mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 8:35PM ET Sunday, October 7, 2012.

Approximately one minute and 19 seconds into last night's launch, the Falcon 9 rocket detected an anomaly on one first stage engine. Initial data suggests that one of the rocket's nine Merlin engines, Engine 1, lost pressure suddenly and an engine shutdown command was issued. We know the engine did not explode, because we continued to receive data from it. Panels designed to relieve pressure within the engine bay were ejected to protect the stage and other engines. Our review of flight data indicates that neither the rocket stage nor any of the other eight engines were negatively affected by this event.

As designed, the flight computer then recomputed a new ascent profile in real time to ensure Dragon's entry into orbit for subsequent rendezvous and berthing with the ISS. This was achieved, and there was no effect on Dragon or the cargo resupply mission.

Falcon 9 did exactly what it was designed to do. Like the Saturn V (which experienced engine loss on two flights) and modern airliners, Falcon 9 is designed to handle an engine out situation and still complete its mission. No other rocket currently flying has this ability.

It is worth noting that Falcon 9 shuts down two of its engines to limit acceleration to 5 g's even on a fully nominal flight. The rocket could therefore have lost another engine and still completed its mission.

We will continue to review all flight data in order to understand the cause of the anomaly, and will devote the resources necessary to identify the problem and apply those lessons to future flights. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Dragon is expected to begin its approach to the station on October 10, where it will be grappled and berthed by Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams of NASA. Over the following weeks, the crew will unload Dragon's payload and reload it with cargo to be returned to Earth. Splashdown is targeted for October 28.

Dr Mordrid
9th October 2012, 09:28
Current NASA TV timings:

October 10, Wednesday
4 a.m. - Coverage of the Grapple of the SpaceX/Dragon CRS-1 at the International Space Station (Grapple scheduled at 7:22 a.m. ET) - JSC (All Channels)

9:15 a.m. - Coverage of the Berthing of the SpaceX/Dragon CRS-1 to the International Space Station (Berthing begins at 9:40 a.m. ET) - JSC (All Channels)

All times Eastern

Dr Mordrid
10th October 2012, 06:21
CRS-1 now berthed at ISS

NASA designates the ship as Dragon-1


Dr Mordrid
28th October 2012, 15:37
Dragon CRS-1/SPX-1 has safely returned to Earth, and so close to the recovery ship SpaceX tweeted this just after splashdown -

If we keep landing this precisely, we're going to have to start issuing the recovery team titanium umbrellas. #Dragon



NASA press release -

RELEASE: 12-381


HOUSTON -- A Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 2:22 p.m. CDT Sunday a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico. The splashdown successfully ended the first contracted cargo delivery flight contracted by NASA to resupply the International Space Station.

"With a big splash in the Pacific Ocean today, we are reminded American ingenuity is alive and well and keeping our great nation at the cutting edge of innovation and technology development," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Just a little over one year after we retired the Space Shuttle, we have completed the first cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Not with a government owned and operated system, but rather with one built by a private firm -- an American company that is creating jobs and helping keep the U.S. the world leader in space as we transition to the next exciting chapter in exploration. Congratulations to SpaceX and the NASA team that supported them and made this historic mission possible."

The Dragon capsule will be taken by boat to a port near Los Angeles, where it will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX's test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing. Some cargo will be removed at the port in California and returned to NASA within 48 hours. This includes a GLACIER freezer packed with research samples collected in the orbiting laboratory's unique microgravity environment. These samples will help advance multiple scientific disciplines on Earth and provide critical data on the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. The remainder of the cargo will be returned to Texas with the capsule.

The ability to return frozen samples is a first for this flight and will be tremendously beneficial to the station's research community. Not since the space shuttle have NASA and its international partners been able to return considerable amounts of research and samples for analysis.

The Dragon launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, on Oct. 7. It carried 882 pounds of cargo to the complex, including 260 pounds of crew supplies, 390 pounds of scientific research, 225 pounds of hardware and several pounds of other supplies. This included critical materials to support 166 scientific investigations, of which 63 were new. Returning with the Dragon capsule was 1,673 pounds of cargo, including 163 pounds of crew supplies, 866 pounds of scientific research, and 518 pounds of hardware.

The mission was the first of at least 12 cargo resupply missions to the space station planned by SpaceX through 2016 under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract.

SpaceX is one of two companies that built and tested new cargo spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. Orbital Sciences is the other company participating in COTS. A demonstration flight of Orbital's Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft to the station is planned in early 2013.

NASA initiatives like COTS and the agency's Commercial Crew Program are helping develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the space station and low-Earth orbit. In addition to cargo flights, NASA's commercial space partners are making progress toward a launch of astronauts from U.S. soil in the next 5 years.

While NASA works with U.S. industry partners to develop and advance these commercial spaceflight capabilities, the agency also is developing the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), a crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket to provide an entirely new capability for human exploration. Designed to be flexible fo launching spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS and Orion will expand human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration in the solar system.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:


For more information about NASA's commercial space programs, visit: