SpaceX to Launch Dragon Mission to ISS Friday Night

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Friday, March 6 for launch of its twentieth Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-20), which will launch from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Launch is targeted for 11:50 p.m. EST, or 4:50 UTC on Saturday, March 7.

Dragon will separate from Falcon 9’s second stage about nine minutes after liftoff and attach to the space station on Monday, March 9. A backup launch opportunity is available on Saturday, March 7 at 11:27 p.m. EST, or 4:27 UTC on Sunday, March 8.

The Dragon spacecraft that will support the CRS-20 mission previously supported the CRS-10 mission in February 2017 and the CRS-16 mission in December 2018, and the Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission previously flew on the CRS-19 mission in December 2019. Following stage separation, SpaceX will recover Falcon 9’s first stage on Landing Zone-1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Dragon Spacecraft

Dragon will be filled with approximately 4,500 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur onboard the orbiting laboratory.

CRS-20 is the twentieth and final mission to the International Space Station that SpaceX will fly for NASA under the first Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract. In January 2016, NASA announced that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft were selected to resupply the space station through 2024 as part of a second CRS contract award.

Under the CRS contracts, SpaceX has restored the United States’ capability to deliver and return significant amounts of cargo, including live plants and animals, to and from the orbiting laboratory.

ISS Capture

International Space Station crew members will use the station’s 57.7-foot (17.6- meter) robotic arm to capture Dragon and attach it to the orbiting laboratory on Monday, March 9.

Return Flight

Dragon will return with more than 4,000 pounds of cargo after an approximately four-week stay at the space station. About five hours after Dragon leaves the space station, it will conduct its deorbit burn, which lasts up to 10 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes for Dragon to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.

Mission Timeline

Countdown

– 00:38:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
– 00:35:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading begins
– 00:35:00 1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins
– 00:16:00 2nd stage LOX loading begins
– 00:07:58 Dragon transitions to internal power
– 00:07:00 Falcon 9 begins pre-launch engine chill
– 00:01:00 Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
– 00:01:00 Propellant tanks pressurize for flight
– 00:00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
– 00:00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
– 00:00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff

Launch, Landing and Dragon Deployment

00:01:18 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:18 1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:22 1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:29 2nd stage engine starts
00:02:35 1st stage boostback burn begins
00:06:32 1st stage entry burn begins
00:08:17 1st stage landing
00:08:35 2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO)
00:09:35 Dragon separates from 2nd stage
00:12:02 Dragon’s solar arrays deploy
02:19:00 Dragon’s Guidance, Navigation and Control bay door opens

Launch Facility

Falcon 9 will launch this mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Learn more about SpaceX’s launch facilities at spacex.com/about.