Cargo flight of the space station next to the SpaceX launch program – Spaceflight Now



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Stock photo of a Dragon cargo capsule that is preparing for its launch. Credit: SpaceX

In a reorganization of the SpaceX launch program, a Falcon 9 rocket is ready to take off not before December 8 on a mission to deliver several tons of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station and return to service of a Cape Last year, SpaceX will postpone the deployment of a mysterious payload from the US government. UU Call Zuma in the company's packed manifesto after managers postponed the November 15 launch to resolve concerns raised during the launch. Test a payload cover for another mission.

Assuming that the next cargo launch remains fixed for December 8, the takeoff will occur at approximately 1:20 p. m. EST (1820 GMT), approximately at the moment when the orbital route of the space station is positioned over Cape Canaveral. The Dragon's capsule will arrive at the space station two days later.

The launch was scheduled for December 4, but two sources confirmed Monday that the start of the mission has been delayed at least four days for undisclosed reasons.

The cargo capsule will transport food, clothing, supplies and experiments to the six-person crew of the space station inside its pressurized cabin. Two NASA-sponsored instruments stored inside Dragon's rear external cargo bay will join accessories outside the space station to study the amount of space debris in Earth's low orbit and measure how much solar power is driving the changing climate of the earth.

The refueling flight will use a previously transported Dragon spacecraft that brought supplies to the space station on SpaceX's sixth commercial cargo mission in April 2015, then returned to Earth with a parachute-aided jam a month later. The next cargo mission, the 13th SpaceX operational refueling launch, is expected to run on a Falcon 9 rocket with a reused first stage, but a NASA spokesman said Monday it could not confirm whether a final decision was made. .

will take off from launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a facility disconnected in September 2016 when a Falcon 9 rocket exploded during a pre-launch countdown test. The fault destroyed an Israeli-owned communications satellite awaiting launch and significantly damaged SpaceX's launch infrastructure on platform 40.

Stock photo of a Falcon 9 rocket at launch site at Cape Canaveral 40. Credit : SpaceX

All SpaceX launches from Florida since then took off from platform 39A at the neighboring Kennedy Space Center, while teams on platform 40 cleaned up debris and rebuilt the coastal complex. The SpaceX hangar on platform 40 survived unharmed, but construction workers fabricated a new erector and umbilical structure to replace the one destroyed in the accident last year, among other repairs.

But activity on the 39A platform is now heading towards preparations for the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket from SpaceX, a new mbadive launcher made up of three first Falcon 9 rocket stages connected together to generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust on takeoff with 27 main Merlin engines.

SpaceX plans to launch the Zuma mission from the 39A platform earlier this month, but the company said it connected the rocket to the ground while engineers examined the results of a recent payload fairing test for another customer. The payload fairing is an aerodynamic cover that adapts to the satellites mounted on top of the Falcon 9 and is designed to open in the form of a shell several minutes after takeoff, once the rocket climbs to the rarefied layers of the superior atmosphere.

Technicians on the 39A platform have removed the Falcon 9 rocket that was designed to bypbad the Zuma payload from the US government. UU From your transporter. Pbadersby spotted pad 39A rocket transporter – used to move rockets from the SpaceX hangar to the launch pad – at the historic launch facility last week without a launcher on board.

A new launch date for the Zuma mission has not been announced. 19659003] The planned refueling launch from pad 40 next month may continue because it does not use a cargo fairing.

The three first-stage cores scheduled for launch at Falcon Heavy's debut mission are inside the hangar on pad 39A, and SpaceX officials say the huge new vehicle – which will become the most powerful rocket in the world. mundo- could take off on its first test flight before the end of December.

That supposes tests previous to the launch, including a first test – Good shot of 27 motors, everything goes according to the plan.

Next month's refueling flight to the International Space Station will reuse the Dragon's capsule that flew to the orbiting research complex in April 2015. Credit: NASA [1 9659002] The SpaceX teams at Vandenberg AFB in California are preparing another Falcon 9 rocket for launch on December 22 with the next batch of 10 voice and data transmission satellites for the modernized Iridium communications network. Iridium announced in October that it will fly with a reused first stage of Falcon 9.

The SES 16 / GovSat 1 communications satellite for LuxGovSat, a joint venture between SES and the government of Luxembourg, is scheduled to launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in mid-January. The SES 16 / GovSat 1 satellite will provide secure X-band and Ka-band communications links, helping to support NATO's obligations in Luxembourg.

Where Zuma will fall on the launch manifesto remains unclear.

Officials from Iridium and SES said Spaceflight Now in the last days their launches are still within the timeline, and they said they had no knowledge of the concern that SpaceX said they stopped the Zuma launch campaign.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .

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