SUNDAY, JUNE 6, 2010
0401 GMT (12:01 a.m. EDT)
SpaceX's cameras around launch pad 40 took these images of the Falcon 9's first blastoff Friday afternoon.
1850 GMT (2:50 p.m. EDT)
SpaceX has released a collection of still photos from cameras mounted on-board the Falcon 9 rocket.
0401 GMT (12:01 a.m. EDT)
Defying questionable odds and technical gremlins, the Falcon 9 rocket completed a nearly flawless first flight Friday afternoon, successfully hitting a bullseye 155 miles high in space after a drama-filled countdown and launch.

The mission was a pivotal test not just for SpaceX, but also for the viability of private firms seeking a leading role in human spaceflight on behalf of NASA.

President Obama's proposal to shift piloted space missions to commercial control has put companies like Space Exploration Technologies Corp. in the limelight. And Elon Musk, a software mogul-turned-rocket designer, says his company is up to the task.

Read our full story.

FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010
2358 GMT (7:58 p.m. EDT)
SpaceX says they accomplished a second stage restart "burp" to slightly change the Falcon's orbit. That could explain the slightly elliptical orbit being reported by independent tracking data.

"We did a test burp of the second stage after orbit insertion, so the current orbit will be a little different than the insertion orbit," Elon Musk tells Spaceflight Now.

2149 GMT (5:49 p.m. EDT)
Independent tracking data indicates the Falcon second stage and Dragon mock-up are circling Earth between 149 miles and 174 miles. The exact orbital parameters will be refined in the coming hours and days.
2131 GMT (5:31 p.m. EDT)
The Falcon 9 rocket for the second flight is 100 percent complete, and the first operational Dragon capsule is 99 percent finished, Musk says. The duo will launch later this summer.
2126 GMT (5:26 p.m. EDT)
Musk says the roll oscillation observed during the second stage burn was not expected, but the rocket still reached a near-perfect orbit. Engineers will study the issue before the next flight, which is scheduled for later this summer.
2121 GMT (5:21 p.m. EDT)
"This has really been a fantastic day," Musk just told reporters. "Certainly one of the greatest days of my life. As many people know, we would have been excited to even have the first stage work, or get some of the way through the second stage burn."

Before launch, SpaceX said it would be a great day if the rocket achieved orbit.

"Thankfully, it has been a great day."

2115 GMT (5:15 p.m. EDT)
The first stage of the Falcon 9 apparently broke apart as it fell back to Earth after separation. The Freedom Star recovery ship has located debris in the water offshore.

Musk says this wasn't a primary objective of today's launch, but SpaceX hopes to recover and re-use the Falcon 9 first stage in future flights.

2012 GMT (4:12 p.m. EDT)
It's official. SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the Falcon 9 rocket achieved a nearly perfect orbit during today's dramatic blastoff.

GPS telemetry showed the rocket's second stage and dummy Dragon capsule hit "essentially a bullseye," according to Musk.

The apogee, or high point, was about 1 percent higher than planned and the perigee, or low point, was 0.2 percent off the target. The second stage shutdown was nominal, Musk told Spaceflight Now.

The Falcon 9 was shooting for a circular orbit 250 kilometers, or 155 miles, high and an inclination of 34.5 degrees.

1938 GMT (3:38 p.m. EDT)
Check out these spectacular photos of the Falcon 9 rocket's afternoon blastoff. These photos were taken by Spaceflight Now photographer Ben Cooper.
1927 GMT (3:27 p.m. EDT)
The Falcon 9 rocket fired up its nine first stage engines and took off from Cape Canaveral at 2:45 p.m. EDT today, piercing thin clouds and disappearing into a blue sky over the Space Coast on a drama-filled test flight of the new privately-built booster.

The solid white rocket rode a million pounds of thrust off launch pad 40, sending a roar across the Kennedy Space Center and trailing a long golden flame.

The first stage powered the rocket to an altitude of more than 50 miles before shutting down and separating from an untested upper stage at the edge of space.

Distinguished by a large niobium nozzle built especially for firing in space, the upper stage's Merlin engine ignited and burned for several minutes to propel the rocket toward orbit.

Glowing red hot from the flaming rocket exhaust, the upper stage engine was supposed to burn for nearly seven minutes and shut down at T+plus 9 minutes, 38 seconds, according to SpaceX.

After a brief moment of stability, a camera mounted on the second stage showed the rocket begin to slowly roll. The rolling motion gradually accelerated up until SpaceX said the Merlin engine shut down. It is unclear if the upper stage powerplant fired for the full planned duration.

What is also unknown is whether the rolling motion would affect the rocket's ability to reach the planned orbit. The Falcon 9 was targeting a 155-mile-high orbit with an inclination of 34.5 degrees.

SpaceX says it will release a post-launch statement and orbit numbers later this evening.

1915 GMT (3:15 p.m. EDT)
A SpaceX spokesperson said the rocket achieved orbit, but they aren't sure of the altitude or inclination.
1855 GMT (2:55 p.m. EDT)
Second stage engine cutoff! SpaceX says this has been a "good day" before shutting off their webcast.
1853 GMT (2:53 p.m. EDT)
The second stage appears to have a distinct rolling motion.
1851 GMT (2:51 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 6 minutes. The Falcon 9 should be about halfway through its upper stage burn.
1849 GMT (2:49 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 30 seconds. SpaceX says the Falcon 9 upper stage continues firing as planned.
1848 GMT (2:48 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 3 minutes. First stage shutdown and separation! And the second stage's Merlin vacuum engine has ignited for its burn to place the rocket in orbit.

The first stage is outfitted with parachutes to slow its descent into the Atlantic Ocean. The Freedom Star booster recovery ship is stationed underneath the flight path to pick up the stage.

1847 GMT (2:47 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 2 minutes. Now soaring into the upper atmosphere, the Falcon 9 rocket is riding a million pounds of thrust from its nine main engines.

Two of the engines should shut down after T+plus 2 minutes, 30 seconds. The remaining engines will cut off about 20 seconds later, followed by stage separation.

1846 GMT (2:46 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 60 seconds. The rocket continues a stable flight as it approaches the speed of sound and maximum dynamic pressure.
1845 GMT (2:45 p.m. EDT)
LIFTOFF! The Falcon 9 rocket has launched on a test flight.
1844 GMT (2:44 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 60 seconds. In the final minute of the countdown, the relief valve on the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage will be closed and the propellant tanks will be pressurized for flight.

The Merlin main engines will ignite beginning at approximately T-minus 3.5 seconds.

1843 GMT (2:43 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 2 minutes. The range reports it is go for launch.
1842 GMT (2:42 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 3 minutes. The ground safety officer will soon enable ignition. All systems remain "go" for launch, according to SpaceX.
1840 GMT (2:40 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 5 minutes and counting. Computers are controlling the launch countdown within the last 10 minutes to liftoff. Any issue now would trigger another hold and likely a scrub today.
1839 GMT (2:39 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 6 minutes.
1837 GMT (2:37 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 8 minutes.
1835 GMT (2:35 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 10 minutes and counting. The terminal countdown has started and the rocket's propellant prevalves have been opened to flow liquid oxygen into the first stage's nine Merlin engines.
1832 GMT (2:32 p.m. EDT)
The launch team just completed their poll and everything is go for launch.
1830 GMT (2:30 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 15 minutes and counting. SpaceX has resolved the engine parameter issue that triggered a last-second countdown abort one hour ago.
1827 GMT (2:27 p.m. EDT)
Officials are closely watching the weather at Cape Canaveral for signs of the development of the afternoon sea breeze, but conditions are currently go for launch.
1822 GMT (2:22 p.m. EDT)
SpaceX confirms the new target launch time is 2:45 p.m. EDT. The countdown should resume in eight minutes.
1759 GMT (1:59 p.m. EDT)
SpaceX will try to set up for another launch attempt this afternoon. There's a little over an hour left in today's launch window.

The launch try at 1:30 p.m. EDT was cut off because an engine parameter fell out of limits.

1748 GMT (1:48 p.m. EDT)
The countdown is back at T-minus 15 minutes and holding.
1744 GMT (1:44 p.m. EDT)
We are still waiting on word about the cause of the countdown abort and whether SpaceX will make another attempt today.
1736 GMT (1:36 p.m. EDT)
SpaceX can recycle the countdown and try again during today's launch window, if they can resolve whatever problem triggered this abort. The window extends until 3 p.m. EDT.
1732 GMT (1:32 p.m. EDT)
The rocket is now being safed and the countdown will be recycled to T-minus 15 minutes.
1730 GMT (1:30 p.m. EDT)
ABORT! The countdown was stopped a few seconds before launch.
1729 GMT (1:29 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 60 seconds. In the final minute of the countdown, the relief valve on the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage will be closed and the propellant tanks will be pressurized for flight.

The Merlin main engines will ignite beginning at approximately T-minus 3.5 seconds.

1728 GMT (1:28 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 2 minutes. Range has given their final clear for launch.
1727 GMT (1:27 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 3 minutes. The ground safety officer will soon enable ignition. All systems remain "go" for launch, according to SpaceX.
1726 GMT (1:26 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 4 minutes and counting.
1724 GMT (1:24 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 6 minutes and counting. Launch remains set for 1:30 p.m. EDT.
1722 GMT (1:22 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 8 minutes and counting. In the final minute before liftoff, the countdown is on an automated computer-controlled sequence to check thousands of parameters on the rocket and the launch pad.

Final activities include a steering check of the nine first stage engines and propellant tank pressurization.

During the last minute before launch, a network of approximately 30 water spigots will release to flood the launch deck with water. Inside T-minus 10 seconds, the water deluge system in the flame trench is activated. The water system dampens the acoustics of engine ignition and liftoff, releasing about 75,000 gallons of water per minute, according to SpaceX engineers.

The first stage engine ignition sequence begins a few seconds before launch, including a heavy nitrogen purge of the propulsion unit at T-minus 5 seconds. The Merlin engine turbines start spinning in the turbopumps at T-minus 3 seconds.

The TEA-TEB, or triethylaluminum-triethylborane, ignition source lights the propellant inside the engines.

The engines ramp up to full power by T-minus 1 second before computers approve the rocket for liftoff, when four hydraulic clamps will release the booster for flight.

1721 GMT (1:21 p.m. EDT)
T-minutes 9 minutes. The weather and range are both go for launch.
1720 GMT (1:20 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 10 minutes and counting.
1718 GMT (1:18 p.m. EDT)
The range is green and has given the final clear for launch.
1715 GMT (1:15 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 15 minutes and counting! After overcoming an issue with the Falcon 9's destruct system, and clearing a sailboat out of the ocean danger zone, the countdown clock has picked up for launch at 1:30 p.m. EDT
1705 GMT (1:05 p.m. EDT)
Air Force helicopters are intercepting a sailboat off the coast of Florida that strayed into the danger area.
1647 GMT (12:47 p.m. EDT)
The range went red just before the countdown was supposed to resume. The reason is unknown.
1643 GMT (12:43 p.m. EDT)
Standing by to pick up the count for a launch time of 1 p.m. EDT.
1635 GMT (12:35 p.m. EDT)
All weather rules remain go for launch, and rain showers are dissipating as they approach Cape Canaveral.
1629 GMT (12:29 p.m. EDT)
The fueling tower strongback has moved back to the launch position at pad 40.
1622 GMT (12:22 p.m. EDT)
SpaceX is looking at using an alternate antenna providing a stronger telemetry signal with the flight termination system. This could lead to a liftoff at 1 p.m. EDT, or even sooner.
1604 GMT (12:06 p.m. EDT)
SpaceX says they have a "path forward" for launching at 1 p.m. EDT, and possibly earlier if they can resolve the flight termination system connectivity issues soon.
1538 GMT (11:38 a.m. EDT)
The Air Force Eastern Range is reviewing signals from the Falcon 9's flight termination system to ensure the destruct package can work as advertised.
1521 GMT (11:21 a.m. EDT)
SpaceX is only providing an online webcast of today's launch, but the video and audio stream is intermittent. That is the only official source of information on the status of the countdown.
1505 GMT (11:05 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 15 minutes and holding. The launch has been delayed, but there is no explanation from SpaceX.
1502 GMT (11:02 a.m. EDT)
We are standing by for SpaceX's webcast to begin.
1500 GMT (11:00 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 20 minutes and counting.
1457 GMT (10:57 a.m. EDT)
Don't be surprised if the Falcon 9 rocket countdown is aborted in the final few seconds before liftoff this morning. Computers overseeing thousands of parameters can halt the countdown up until liftoff if any technical limits are exceeded.

After the first stage's nine Merlin engines ignite at T-minus 3.5 seconds, the automated software will review their status to ensure the powerplants are ready to commit to launch.

SpaceX is setting the technical limits tight for this first launch, so the odds of a last-second abort are greater than usual, according to members of the launch team.

If the countdown is aborted after the engines start, SpaceX can still recycle and try to launch again during the four-hour window, if engineers are comfortable with the problem.

1450 GMT (10:50 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 30 minutes and counting.
1437 GMT (10:37 a.m. EDT)
The edge of the storms is now less than 50 miles west of the launch pad and moving east.
1435 GMT (10:35 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 45 minutes and counting. Although NASA will one day be a major customer for Falcon 9 launches, the agency's involvement in today's test flight is limited.

The NASA Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center is providing the Hangar AE telemetry facility as a conduit to forward data from pad 40 to the SpaceX control center at Port Canaveral. But Hangar AE will not be analyzing or releasing any imagery or data.

The Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS, program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston is funding launch support for long-range trackers located at KSC and Patrick Air Force Base. JSC is also paying for the NASA debris radar, normally used for space shuttle launches, to look at the performance of the rocket, staging dynamics, flight behavior and trajectory information. NASA says the debris radar can also be used to observe launch debris if a mishap occurs, but that is not its primary function.

United Space Alliance, the shuttle program's prime contractor, has dispatched one of its solid rocket booster recovery ships a few hundred miles northeast of Cape Canaveral to attempt to retrieve the Falcon 9's first stage. SpaceX is paying NASA through USA for the support of the Freedom Star vessel.

1428 GMT (10:28 a.m. EDT)
SpaceX says the propellant loading of the Falcon 9 rocket is processing nominally this morning. Fueling is nearly complete at this point.
1424 GMT (10:24 a.m. EDT)
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1420 GMT (10:20 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 60 minutes and counting. The liquid oxygen is stored in a 125,000-gallon sphere in the southeast quadrant of Complex 40. The rocket's RP-1 kerosene fuel is kept in cylinder-shaped tanks on the west side of the pad.

Engineers plan to load nearly 39,000 gallons of super cold liquid oxygen and almost 25,000 gallons of kerosene fuel into the first stage tanks. About 7,300 gallons of liquid oxygen and 4,600 gallons of kerosene will go into the second stage.

The propellants flow into the first stage through the launch mount at the base of the rocket. Kerosene and liquid oxygen will be pumped up the strongback umbilical tower to enter the second stage.

A team of about 30 engineers and managers is stationed inside the SpaceX Launch Control Center near the south gate of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

1411 GMT (10:11 a.m. EDT)
Fueling of the Falcon 9 rocket is underway and the latest check of weather shows conditions are green across the board right now.
1406 GMT (10:06 a.m. EDT)
According to a last-minute press kit just released by SpaceX, the Falcon 9 rocket will reach orbit at T+plus 9 minutes, 38 seconds.
1350 GMT (9:50 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 90 minutes and counting. The thick cloud rule has gone green, but the cumulus cloud rule is now red. Storms are approaching the Cape Canaveral area from the west right now.
1343 GMT (9:43 a.m. EDT)
The site of today's Falcon 9 rocket launch was home of the Titan rocket family for 40 years. After the final launch of the Titan 4 rocket from Florida in 2005, pad 40 was transferred over to SpaceX for its Falcon 9 rocket.

The Air Force demolished the pad's Titan-era fixed umbilical tower and mobile service gantry. After taking over the pad, SpaceX added a RP-1 fuel farm and a 125,000-gallon liquid oxygen tank for the Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX also constructed a 225-foot by 75-foot horizontal integration hangar near the south perimeter of the pad. Before launch, the Falcon rocket rolls out of the hangar and is erected vertically on the pad by a mobile transporter, which also doubles as the booster's umbilical tower.

1336 GMT (9:36 a.m. EDT)
Today's launch of the Falcon 9 rocket will attempt to reach orbit, but SpaceX is downplaying expectations about the outcome of the flight.

"A hundred percent success would be reaching orbit," said Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and CEO. "But I think, given this is a test flight, whatever percentage of getting to orbit we achieve would still be considered a good day. I think even if we prove out just that the first stage functions correctly, that's a good day for a test. It's a great day if both stages work correctly."

Musk said he would estimate there is a 70 or 80 percent chance the Falcon 9 rocket will reach orbit.

"SpaceX has decided to go all the way to orbit on its first test flight," said Bretton Alexander, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. "That is much more ambitious, therefore open to more technical issues. In the end, is that the right strategy? From a PR perspective, maybe or maybe not. But Elon knows he has the customers to have multiple launch attempts to get it right. He's confident enough to bite off a lot of test objectives on the first flight. You never know if that's the right strategy or not."

Ken Bowersox, a former astronaut and SpaceX's top safety official, said the company is accepting some risk with the flight, but it will also yield quicker and more useful results than more ground testing.

"For a typical NASA program, it would be normal to test the second stage engine in a vacuum environment," Bowersox said Thursday. "Because that's a really big engine, that test could cost [more than] 50 percent of a full Falcon 9 launch. It's cheaper and smarter to do a test flight."

1326 GMT (9:26 a.m. EDT)
SpaceX public relations officials claim they know nothing about the status of the countdown this morning, but clocks are ticking down to a new launch time of 11:20 a.m. EDT.
1321 GMT (9:21 a.m. EDT)
Hit reload for a webcast of our shot of the Falcon 9 launch pad and a live chat.

SpaceX is not releasing any video from the Falcon 9 launch until the company's own webcast begins 20 minutes before liftoff. The top of the rocket is visible just above the treeline.

1300 GMT (9:00 a.m. EDT)
The Falcon 9 launch window opens at 11 a.m. EDT and extends four hours to 3 p.m. EDT.

SpaceX selected the launch window to be late enough to not require early morning countdown operations, but early enough in the day to permit first stage recovery offshore while there is still daylight.

1250 GMT (8:50 a.m. EDT)
The blast danger area around pad 40 has been cleared before fueling begins.
1200 GMT (8:00 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 3 hours and counting.
1147 GMT (7:47 a.m. EDT)
All indications are this morning's launch of the inaugural Falcon 9 rocket is still on schedule for 11 a.m. EDT this morning.

The weather forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of conditions that would violate the Falcon's weather constraints. The primary concerns are with anvil and cumulus clouds around the Space Coast today.

A current look at weather conditions shows the thick cloud rule is red. All other constraints are green at the moment.

The launch team was expected to begin arriving at the SpaceX control center near Port Canaveral early this morning to start powering up the 154-foot-tall booster. The controllers will check all the computers, electronics and moving parts on the rocket and the launch pad to ensure they are ready for the final countdown.

Fueling preps should begin inside two hours before launch.

2302 GMT (7:02 p.m. EDT)
SpaceX is tightly controlling information on tomorrow's Falcon 9 test launch.

Unlike other NASA, military and commercial launches from Cape Canaveral, SpaceX is not releasing any video or audio of the countdown until the company's own webcast begins 20 minutes before launch. The webcast will be anchored from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.

A company spokesperson says the webcast will open with an overview of the company's space exploration plans before transitioning to live coverage of the final few minutes of the Falcon 9 countdown.

The timing of key countdown and flight events are also staying under wraps until they occur.

NASA's long-range tracking cameras at the Kennedy Space Center will be following the launch, but SpaceX has requested the footage not be released.

Hangar AE, the nerve center for Cape launch operations, will be a conduit for data between pad 40 and SpaceX's control center near the south gate of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, but NASA will not distribute the data, video and audio to external parties.

2225 GMT (6:25 p.m. EDT)
Friday's launch of the first Falcon 9 rocket will not only be a shakedown of a brand new booster, it will test the fortitude of the space community at the dawn of an uncertain new chapter in human spaceflight.

SpaceX leaders say the outcome of Friday's test launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, increasingly the face of the growing commercial space movement, should not be a bellwether for NASA's plans to turn over human spaceflight to private companies.

Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, an Internet and technology mogul, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has become the most visible participant in the commercial space industry, even before the first launch of its largest rocket.

Musk tried to lower expectations for the launch during a conference call with reporters Thursday.

Read our full story.

2130 GMT (5:30 p.m. EDT)
Spaceflight Now is planning a live webcast of tomorrow's Falcon 9 launch with Miles O'Brien, David Waters and astronaut Leroy Chiao. Tune in at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) for extensive coverage of SpaceX's historic launch.
2040 GMT (4:40 p.m. EDT)
Air Force Col. Ed Wilson, commander of the 45th Space Wing, formally approved the Falcon 9 rocket's flight termination system during a launch readiness review this afternoon, a military spokesperson said.
1604 GMT (12:04 p.m. EDT)
The target inclination for tomorrow's flight is 34.5 degrees, Musk says.
1554 GMT (11:54 a.m. EDT)
Musk says it will take between 8 and 10 minutes for the Falcon 9 rocket to reach a 250-kilometer, or 155-mile, orbit above Earth.

But SpaceX is defining success as accomplishing as many launch events as possible to gather data on the vehicle.
1525 GMT (11:25 a.m. EDT)
In a teleconference with reporters, SpaceX officials say they believe the Air Force has given final approvel for the flight termination system on the Falcon 9 rocket.

The Air Force would send a signal to the destruct system to break up the rocket if it flies off course during launch. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said he is "99.9 percent sure" the issue has been resolved.

Safety officials ordered more testing and reviews of the flight termination system to ensure it is capable of keeping the rocket away from the public and other facilities at Cape Canaveral.
0415 GMT (12:15 a.m. EDT)
The Falcon 9 rocket is standing tall on the Cape Canaveral skyline after rolling out of its hangar Wednesday, but SpaceX is purposely keeping the booster's flight plan under wraps to dodge instant analysis from armchair quarterbacks.

Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and CEO, says the company is not releasing the exact times of countdown and launch events to keep the information out of the hands of competitors.

The flight won't enter a news blackout like some military launches. SpaceX will announce events on its own live webcast of the historic test launch.

"We will report events as they happen, but are not providing a score sheet that our numerous enemies can use against us to nitpick what will hopefully be a great flight," Musk said. "This is the first flight of a new vehicle, so there will necessarily be differences between predictions and reality."

Read our full story.

And check these photos of the Falcon 9 rocket's rollout Wednesday.
1905 GMT (3:05 p.m. EDT)
Greeted by a mix of raindrops and sunshine, the Falcon 9 rocket rolled out of its hangar and was hoisted atop pad 40 this afternoon, two days before the 15-story rocket will take off on an experimental test flight for SpaceX.

After the rocket was lifted vertically by the mobile transporter, workers were expected to begin checking out mechanical, plumbing, electrical and communications interfaces between the launcher and ground facilities.

The transporter doubles as a fixed umbilical tower for the countdown and launch.

Workers must manually insert a total of six pins and connect five flanges between the transporter and infrastructure at Complex 40. Teams carefully line up the launch tower atop the concrete flame pit at the pad.

Technicians will also hook up a panel of several dozen electrical, fluid and gas lines.

The flanges will link the rocket with ground storage tanks containing liquid oxygen, kerosene fuel, helium, gaserous nitrogen and the first stage ignitor source called triethylaluminum-triethylborane, better known as TEA-TEB.

During normal work, the Falcon 9 is kept inside a steel hangar 600 feet south of the launch pad. The structure spans 225 feet long and 75 feet side.

The booster was plugged into the transporter while still inside the hangar, so engineers only have to make connections between the tower and the ground after rollout.

The weather forecast for Friday continues to show a 40 percent chance clouds and storms will prevent liftoff during the four-hour launch window.
1855 GMT (2:55 p.m. EDT)
The transporter has erected the 15-story rocket vertical at pad 40.
1700 GMT (1 p.m. EDT)
The Falcon 9 rocket has rolled out of its hangar and is about to be lifted upright atop the pad.
2340 GMT (7:40 p.m. EDT)
SpaceX believes the Air Force review of the Falcon 9 rocket's flight termination system will wrap up in time for an historic first launch attempt of the new vehicle Friday.

In a posting to the company's website Tuesday night, officials say the schedule is "looking good" for receiving final approval on the destruct system by Friday.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the rocket has been ready for launch for weeks, but the Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration are responsible for the safety of launch operations at Cape Canaveral.

Both agencies extensively reviewed the flight termination system to ensure it would be ready to destroy the Falcon 9 rocket if it strayed from its expected flight path.

SpaceX finished end-to-end testing of the Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday, and engineers were scheduled to finish final systems connections on the flight termination system this evening, according to the update.

The company says it will roll out the Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday morning. The 154-foot-tall booster will be lifted vertical atop pad 40 Wednesday afternoon.
1830 GMT (2:30 p.m. EDT)
The Air Force has issued the first weather forecast for Friday's scheduled launch attempt of the Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral.

There will be a 40 percent chance anvil clouds and scattered thunderstorms will violate strict weather criteria at liftoff. The forecast holds the same odds should the launch slip to Saturday.

The subtropical ridge axis, which controls our low-level wind flow, is shifting south of Cape Canaveral," the forecast synopsis said. "This will cause the low-level winds to become more westerly and impede the inland migration of the seabreeze convergence line. The seabreeze convergence line is the focusing mechanism for unsettled weather including showers and thunderstorms. Pinning this convergence line along the coast increases the chances of unfavorable conditions in the launch area."

Air Force meteorologists say the weather will be more favorable early in the four-hour window, which opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m. EDT every day.

The outlook calls for scattered cloud decks with bases at 2,500 feet, 10,000 feet and 28,000 feet. Winds will be out of the southwest at 10 to 15 knots and the temperature will be between 82 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read our earlier status center coverage.