September 26, 2018

Launch timeline for SpaceX’s 15th space station resupply mission


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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will go from Cape Canaveral to low Earth orbit in less than 10 minutes Friday with a Dragon capsule heading for the International Space Station carrying more than 5,900 pounds of supplies and experiments.

Liftoff is set for 0942 GMT (5:42 a.m. EDT) Friday from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad.

It will be the 57th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket, and SpaceX’s 12th launch of the year. Working under contract to NASA, Friday’s launch will be the 15th of least 26 SpaceX resupply missions to depart for the space station.

SpaceX does not intend to recover the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage on Friday’s mission. The booster is already a veteran of one launch in April, when it propelled NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite toward orbit.

T-0:00:00: Liftoff

After the rocket’s nine Merlin engines pass an automated health check, hold-down clamps will release the Falcon 9 booster for liftoff from pad 40.

T+0:01:10: Mach 1

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Mach 1, the speed of sound.
The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Mach 1, the speed of sound.

T+0:01:19: Max Q

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure.
The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure.

T+0:02:45: MECO

The Falcon 9’s nine Merlin 1D engines shut down.
The Falcon 9’s nine Merlin 1D engines shut down.

T+0:02:48: Stage 1 Separation

The Falcon 9’s first stage separates from the second stage moments after MECO.
The Falcon 9’s first stage separates from the second stage moments after MECO.

T+0:02:56: Second Stage Ignition

The second stage Merlin 1D vacuum engine ignites for an approximately 7-minute burn to put the Dragon spacecraft into orbit.
The second stage Merlin 1D vacuum engine ignites for an approximately five-and-a-half-minute burn to put the Dragon spacecraft into orbit.

T+0:08:31: SECO

The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket shuts down after reaching a target orbit with a low point of approximately 124 miles (200 kilometers), a high point of approximately 223 miles (360 kilometers) and an inclination of 51.6 degrees. The second stage will reignite for a de-orbit burn soon after deploying the Dragon spacecraft, aiming for a destructive re-entry over the Southern Ocean south of Australia.
The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket shuts down after reaching a target orbit with a low point of approximately 124 miles (200 kilometers), a high point of approximately 223 miles (360 kilometers) and an inclination of 51.6 degrees. The second stage will reignite for a de-orbit burn after a long-duration coast demonstration, falling back into the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean for a destructive re-entry around six hours after liftoff.

T+0:09:31: Dragon Separation

The Dragon spacecraft separates from the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage.
The Dragon spacecraft separates from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage.

T+0:11:00: Solar Arrays Deployed

The Dragon spacecraft's two solar array wings extend one-at-a-time to a span of 54 feet (16.5 meters).
The Dragon spacecraft’s two solar array wings extend one-at-a-time to a span of 54 feet (16.5 meters).

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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