Monday, April 2, 2018

Flight Proven SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon Poised for NASA Cargo Blastoff to International Space Station on April 2: Watch Live

‘Flight-proven’ SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon CRS-14 cargo ship poised for liftoff from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, on April 2 at 4:33 pm EDT to the ISS. Credit: Ken Kremer/

Ken Kremer  --   Space UpClose  --   2 April 2018

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL –  SpaceX is poised for liftoff of their fourteenth commercial resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on Easter Monday afternoon, April 2 – using both a flight proven Falcon 9 booster and Dragon cargo vessel approved by NASA managers for only the second time.

The Dragon CRS-14 cargo freighter is jam packed with nearly 3 tons of science and supplies for the six person multinational crew serving aboard that will support more than 50 research investigations.

Blastoff of the ‘used’ SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon CRS-14 commercial cargo freighter is now slated for 4:30 p.m. EDT Monday, April 2 from seaside Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The launch window is instantaneous, meaning that any delay will force a 24 hour scrub to Tuesday, April 3.

Up close view of recycled SpaceX Dragon CRS-14 vessel loaded with 5800 pounds of science and supplies bound for the International Space Station from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, on April 2, 2018.   Credit: Ken Kremer/

CRS-14 will deliver over 5800 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the million pound orbiting laboratory for the Expedition 55/56 crews during its month long stay.  

All systems are GO said NASA and SpaceX managers at an Easter Sunday prelaunch briefing for reporters held at the KSC press site.

The weather is also cooperating for the hordes of excited spectators flowing into area hotels.

U.S. Air Force meteorologists with the 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base Air Force continue to project very nice weather with an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time. The primary concerns are for flight through precipitation and the cumulous cloud rule.

In case of a delay for any reason technical or weather, the weather forecast remains at 80 percent favorable for the 24 hour scrub turnaround day on Tuesday, April 3.

If you can’t personally be here to witness the launch in Florida, you can always watch NASA’s live coverage on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The SpaceX/Dragon CRS-13 launch coverage will be broadcast on NASA TV beginning  at 4 p.m. Apr 2 with additional commentary on the NASA launch blog.

SpaceX will also offer their own live webcast beginning approximately 15 minutes before launch at about 4:15 p.m. EDT.

You can watch the launch live at NASA TV at -

You can also watch the launch live at SpaceX hosted Webcast at -

The Dragon was previously used during the CRS-8 mission and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and the Falcon 9 first was recycled from the CRS-12 mission and touched down softly and safely at LZ-1 at the Cape.

Although the Falcon 9 first stage is equipped with grid fins and landing legs, SpaceX will not attempt to recover this Block 4 version of the booster either on land or at sea. The droneship was not dispatched.
Instead SpaceX will run an experiment to adjust the thrust and reentry and landing parameters to expand the envelope of return operations.
Up close view of landing legs on SpaceX CRS-14 Falcon 9 launching cargo Dragon to the International Space Station from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, on April 2, 2018.   Credit: Ken Kremer/

Following four successful SpaceX Dragon liftoffs in 2017, the CRS-14 mission counts as the first of several planned for 2018.

About 10 minutes after launch, Dragon will reach its preliminary orbit, at which point it will deploys its solar arrays and begins a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the International Space Station.

The total cargo on board amounts to 5836 pounds/2647 kilograms. Of that 3794 pounds/1721 kg is pressurized cargo and 2041 pounds/926 kg is unpressurized and loaded in the Dragon truck. 

The CRS-14 pressurized cargo manifest includes 758 pounds/344 kg of crew supplies, 2359 pounds/1070 kg of science investigations, 218 pounds/99 kg of spacewalk equipment, 326 pounds/148 kg of vehicle hardware, 108 pounds /49 kg of computer resources, 24 pounds/11 kg of Russian hardware.
Three payloads are mounted inside the Dragon trunk.

Grapple and berthing to the space station is targeted for April 4. Expedition 55 Flight Engineers Norishege Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, backed up by NASA astronaut Scott Tingle, will supervise the operation of the Canadarm2 robotic arm for Dragon’s capture. After Dragon capture, ground commands will be sent from mission control in Houston for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Harmony module.

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX CRS-14, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: – – twitter @ken_kremer - ken at

SpaceX CRS-14 mission patch. Credit: SpaceX/NASA

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