Earlier this week, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) fired up their Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft in a successful test to prepare for launch to the International Space Station, set for Friday, March 1, at 10:10 a.m. EST. Space travel fans can follow along during the event via LiveStream starting at 9:30 a.m.
Monday, SpaceX teams ran through all the countdown processes as if it were launch day. All nine engines on the Falcon rocket were successfully fired for nearly two seconds, clearing the way for the historic launch.
Friday’s launch will be the fourth flight for SpaceX’s uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft and the fifth and final flight for the company’s two-stage Falcon launch vehicle. It it the second SpaceX operational mission contracted to NASA under a Commercial Resupply Services contract.
Did you ever wonder what they send to the International Space Station on resupply missions?
In addition to what we might expect; food, clothing and gear needed for survival in space, the 1493-pound mission manifest includes experiments sent from a variety of nations.
Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency, for example, is sending stem cells. The Canadian and European Space Agencies have experiments going up also. NASA and the Russians are sending various supplies, computer resources and replacement parts.
With favorable weather expected, coverage of the launch from NASA’s Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida will begin at 8:30am on NASA TV.
Here is a short clip of that test-fire earlier this week-
Space shuttle Endeavour will be departing Kennedy Space Center for the last time next month and the public is invited to a series of events happening in September.
First, the public has the opportunity to see Endeavour as it is being prepared for its journey atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) September 14 and 15. Scheduled exclusive Endeavour bus tours will let guests view the orbiter as it is lifted by the mate-demate device (MDD) and placed atop a specially designed Boeing 747 aircraft. Viewing and photo opportunities will be available from the bus. The tour price is $20 per adult/$14 per child in addition to regular admission
Then, on Monday, September 17, at about 7:30 a.m. EDT, a limited number of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests will have a front-row seat to witness the departure of Endeavour from the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). Another fly-out viewing option is from the Visitor Complex as the history-setting mission covers the sky above the attraction’s Rocket Garden. The tour price for this up-close opportunity is $40 per person plus admission.
Also, live NASA TV video coverage of Endeavour’s fly-out and commentary will be broadcast in the IMAX Theater. Doors will open at 6 a.m. EDT. Coverage begins at 6:30 a.m. EDT.
In 19 years of service, Endeavour went on 25 missions, carried 133 astronauts, spent 299 days in space and traveled 122,883,151 miles. As a collectible, complimentary gift during the festivities, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests will receive a lithograph of Endeavour as a keepsake.
For more information and to purchase tickets, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
While NASA’s space shuttle program may have ended, the orbiters and other artifacts are being prepared for their new homes and the lessons learned through the program’s history are being gathered for future generations. On its way to the National Air and Space Museum, the shuttle Discovery will make one last flight later this month.
On Tuesday, April 17, NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) with space shuttle Discovery mounted atop will fly just 1500 feet above various parts of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Discovery completed 39 missions, spent 365 days in space, orbited the Earth 5,830 times and traveled 148,221,675 miles from its maiden flight, STS-41-D on August 30, 1984, until its final landing during STS-133 on March 9, 2011.
Discovery was the first of the three active space shuttles to be retired, followed byEndeavour on June 1, 2011. The final shuttle mission was completed with the landing of Atlantis on July 21, 2011, bringing about the end of the 30-year program.