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Raumfahrt - Startvorbereitung für SpaceXs Crew-1 Dragon -Update-2

29.10.2020

Crew-1 mission in final preparations as launch date aligns

With Crew-1 just weeks away, SpaceX and NASA have entered final preparations for the first operational Crew Dragon flight that will mark the first long-duration crew rotation mission to the International Space Station to launch from a country other than Kazakhstan since 2009.

The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon with Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi is now set to liftoff from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center, FL, on 14 November 2020 at 19:49 EST (23:49 UTC) for a one-day trip to the Station.

 

The Crew-1 mission will be the first time SpaceX conducts a long-duration crew flight to the International Space Station (ISS) and will mark the first time since August 2009 that a regular, long-duration Station crew member will launch on a U.S. vehicle.

The mission will use a new Crew Dragon capsule: C207, which the Crew-1 astronauts have named Resilience.

In late-August, Resilience was delivered to SpaceX’s processing facilities at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  After arriving, engineers started a test campaign which consisted of three major components: electromagnetic interference, acoustic, and those based around the few tweaks/changes incorporated from lessons learned on the DM-2 mission between May-August 2020.

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DM-2 was a resounding success, with both NASA and SpaceX officials noting their happiness with Dragon Endeavour’s performance during the historic mission that returned human launch capability to the U.S. after it was voluntarily given up for nine years when NASA officials and Congress became too nervous about continued flight operations of the proven Space Shuttle architecture.

Of the changes incorporated to Resilience, the most prominent was a modification to a small area of Dragon’s heat shield that was observed on DM-2 post-flight inspections to have ablated just a little more than pre-flight predictions.

At no time during DM-2 was the crew in any danger, and the heat shield observation was not classed as serious.  Still, SpaceX and NASA opted to tweak the heat shield design for Crew-1 for additional safety margins.

In addition to preparing Dragon Resilience to flight, preparations are also underway at LC-39A to reconfigure the pad for the crew launch — which is the next mission that will launch from 39A.

Some of these pad preps include unstowing the crew access arm and preparing it for use, removing the ground service equipment on the Transporter/Erector that is used for payload fairings, and configuring and verifying the equipment that will be used to communicate with Dragon and the crew.

Once the pad change-overs are complete, Falcon 9 booster B1061 with Dragon mated atop will be rolled out for a series of tests.  The most visible will be the static fire, where launch teams will test entire configuration of the vehicle and put it through the same countdown it will go through on launch day. 

This includes fueling Falcon 9 and igniting all nine Merlin 1D engines on it base.  The main difference between static fire and launch day — aside from liftoff — is that the crew will not be placed inside Dragon for static fire.

Instead, the crew and pad teams will separately practice the crew’s day-of-launch activities on a separate day.  During that activity, the four-person international crew will then conduct a dry dress rehearsal, practicing the suit-up, transport pad, boarding, and countdown ops. 

During this, the crew — as well as launch and pad teams — will also practice procedures that would be used on launch day should they have to evacuate the pad under emergency conditions.

After these tests are complete, SpaceX and NASA will review the data from not just DM-2 and Crew-1 practice, but also from the preceding Sentinel 6A mission — which will launch from Vandenberg just four days prior to Crew-1’s planned launch date.

That mission will prove out engine fixes to the gas-generators the did not work as planned on the first attempt to the launch an unrelated Falcon 9 mission in September.

All of that data from previous missions and the Crew-1 pad tests will be fed into the Crew-1 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) and Launch Readiness Review — as will multiple other sources of data.

The FRR will begin approximately a week before the expected launch date, when teams from NASA, SpaceX, JAXA, and several other entities will give the final approval for Dragon’s flight.

After passing the FRR, Dragon will become the first private spacecraft certified for human flight.

Following the FRR, the teams will enter the Launch Readiness Review (LRR), which will begin two days before launch.  The LRR is the final technical review before launch and approves the readiness of Dragon, Falcon 9, the Pad Closeout Crew (SpaceX Ninjas), and all recovery teams.

Upon passing the LRR, Crew-1 will be officially cleared to proceed to launch day.

On launch day, the crew’s in-earnest preparations start at T-4 hour 15 minutes when the Mike, Victor, Shannon, and Soichi have their final weather briefing.  Following this, the they will suit up at T-4 hours.  Follow leak and pressure checks, the crew will depart for 39A in two Tesla Model X vehicles specially designed to transport the astronauts and the various air and data connects their suits require.

At T-2 hours 35 minutes, the crew will begin boarding the Dragon Resilience.

Once the crew has been loaded into Resilience and all of the SpaceX Ninjas have cleared the pad, the launch team will begin the final launch operations.

The SpaceX launch director will give a “GO” for to begin fueling operations at around T-45 minutes.  The crew access arm will then retracted to the launch position, and the Crew Dragon’s SuperDraco abort system will be armed.  The abort system would pull Dragon and its crew quickly and safely away from Falcon during fueling or launch should an issue with the rocket breach safety guidelines.

 

 

This operation of arming the abort system and having it active during fueling keeps the crew safe in case something goes wrong during propellant loading.

At T-35 minutes, SpaceX will begin a procedure called “load and go,” which is when propellant loading is conducted rapidly and completes just two-and-a-half minutes before launch.  During this process, Falcon 9 will be loaded with approximately 544,000 kg (1.2 million pounds) of RP-1 kerosene and densified liquid oxygen (LOX).

At T-1 minute, the rocket will then enter “startup,” which is when Falcon 9 takes control of the countdown.

At T-45 seconds, the final “GO” for launch will be given by the SpaceX launch director.

At T-3 seconds, Falcon 9’s nine first stage engines will be commanded to ignite.  Three seconds later, if all has gone well and the engines have passed final health checks, the Falcon 9 will launch from LC-39A during a single second, instantaneous launch window.

After 2-minutes and 38 seconds, the first stage will shut down, and two seconds later will separate from the 2nd stage.  It will then perform a landing on one of the two Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ships (ASDS) located 510 km downrange in the Atlantic Ocean to be brought back to Port Canaveral for refurbishment and reuse on the Crew-2 mission, which is currently targeted for No Earlier Than (NET) March 2021.

Nearly 9-minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9’s 2nd stage will shut down, placing Resilience in low-Earth orbit.  At T+12 minutes, three minutes after reaching orbit, Resilience will separate from the 2nd stage begin its free-flight journey to the ISS.

Dragon will then open its nose cone for navigation and docking preparation.  It will perform a series of thruster burns to boost itself from approximately 210 km insertion orbit up to the Station’s approximate 410 km orbit for a docking about one day after launch.

After getting permission to dock with the Station, Dragon will approach and perform a fully-automated docking to the forward docking port on the Harmony (Node-2) module of Station.

Once the crew is docked, they will stay at the ISS for approximately 6 months.  As a part of Expedition 64, the crew will greatly increase the ability to perform science experiments aboard the outpost, something that has been severely limited since March when the Station’s crew was reduced from six down to three permanent occupants due to a gap in Russian Soyuz seats and the start of long-duration U.S. missions.

With Crew-1, the Station’s permanent crew size will increase to the long-held goal of seven people.

About two-weeks after Crew-1, another Dragon 2 will launch to the ISS.  On the CRS-21 mission, a Dragon 2 cargo variant will stay at the ISS for a month.  Launching science, supplies, and the Bishop Airlock Module, it will be the first Dragon launched under the CRS2 contract and the first cargo mission to use the same basic “crew” Dragon design… just modded. 

Just before the end of Crew-1, the SpaceX Crew-2 mission will launch on B1061.2 and C206.2 (Endeavour), the same booster used on Crew-1 and the same Dragon used on DM-2, and dock. This direct handover will last about one week, before Crew-1 departs and returns to Earth.

Quelle: NS

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NASA and SpaceX explain engine anomaly ahead of astronauts' Florida launch

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NASA and SpaceX have opted to move forward with the company's first full, operational mission to launch astronauts from Kennedy Space Center after teams discovered the cause of a recent engine-related anomaly.

NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will lift off from pad 39A in a Crew Dragon capsule at 7:49 p.m. Nov. 14, marking the company's first long-duration flight to the International Space Station. The astronauts have already entered a preliminary coronavirus quarantine phase.

NASA and SpaceX officials on Wednesday confirmed that issues with a Falcon 9 rocket's Merlin main engines, discovered during the Oct. 2 scrub of a Global Positioning System satellite launch, have been resolved and more testing is underway.

Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability at SpaceX, said teams initially weren't able to figure out why two of nine engines triggered early-start sensors on Oct. 2, which forced computers to automatically scrub seconds before liftoff. After the engines were removed and shipped to Texas for testing, the anomaly surfaced again when sensors detected higher-than-expected engine chamber pressures.

The cause: a minuscule, almost undetectable amount of "masking lacquer," which is used to protect engine components and surfaces during the production process. The lacquer is almost like a bright red nail polish.

"We found a relief valve – a little line that goes to the relief valve – blocked in the gas generator," Koenigsmann told reporters Wednesday. "That little red substance was blocking a relief valve that caused it to function a little bit earlier than it was supposed to."

The gas generators are almost like little rocket engines themselves – they're used to power a pump that then feeds propellants into the main engine chamber. But the blockage caused certain processes to begin too early.

A specific order of igniter fluid and propellant pumping has to be followed for smooth engine activation. Liquid oxygen, rocket-grade kerosene, and the igniter need to be introduced at precise times, otherwise engines will suffer a "hard start" that can sometimes be damaging.

Sensors detected that early rise in pressure in Merlin engines 1 and 2, leading to the computer-controlled abort.

"Probably during the washing or the cleaning process, some of that masking lacquer went into this vent hole and blocked it," Koenigsmann said, adding that the issue occurred at a SpaceX supplier. "When we removed that masking lacquer from the vent hole, then the engines performed perfectly and started up at the right time."

So far, only some new Merlin engines are found to have the lacquer issue. Previously flown boosters have continued to launch in the interim.

NASA and SpaceX are currently replacing two suspect engines from the upcoming Crew-1 mission. Teams will then test fire the rocket five days before liftoff on Nov. 9.

The agency also wants SpaceX to fly two other missions – the scrubbed GPS satellite and a separate science spacecraft – before Crew-1. When combined with data from the static test fire, engineers should be able to paint a clear picture of Merlin engine safety.

The astronauts are scheduled enter a more stringent quarantine period starting Saturday, after which they will travel to KSC in a NASA aircraft on Nov. 6. After the test fire three days later, they will run through a full rehearsal including spacesuits, traveling to the pad, and entering the Crew Dragon capsule.

If NASA and SpaceX need it, 7:27 p.m. Sunday has been designated as a backup window.

"Over my career at SpaceX, I've seen little things cause big effects," Koenigsmann said on the engine anomalies. "This reminds me that rockets are humbling. It's always a challenge and it's always difficult."

 

Launch on Saturday, Nov. 14:

  • Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
  • Mission: Crew-1 launch of astronauts
  • Astronauts: Victor Glover; Michael Hopkins; Shannon Walker; Soichi Noguchi
  • Launch Time: 7:49 p.m.
  • Launch Pad: 39A at Kennedy Space Center
  • Landing: TBD
  • Weather: Forecast expected Nov. 11
  • Backup Launch Window: 7:27 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15

Quelle: Florida Today

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Update: 4.11.2020

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NASA TV Coverage Set for First Crew Rotation Flight on US Commercial Spacecraft

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NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts participate in crew equipment interface testing at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Sept. 24, 2020. From left are mission specialist Shannon Walker, pilot Victor Glover, and Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, all NASA astronauts, and mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission is the first crew rotational flight of a U.S. commercial spacecraft with astronauts to the International Space Station. The Crew-1 mission will launch from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crew-1 is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which has returned human spaceflight capabilities to the U.S.
Credits: SpaceX

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the first crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket following certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

 

The launch is targeted for 7:49 p.m. EST Saturday, Nov. 14, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station at 4:20 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 15. Launch, prelaunch activities, and docking will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

 

The Crew-1 flight will carry Crew Dragon Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover, and Mission Specialist Shannon Walker, all of NASA, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi to the space station for a six-month science mission.

 

The deadline has passed for media accreditation for in-person coverage of this launch. More information about media accreditation is available by emailing: ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov.

 

All media participation in the following news conferences will be remote except where specifically listed below, and only a limited number of media will be accommodated at Kennedy due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Please note that the Kennedy Press Site News Center facilities will remain closed throughout these events for the protection of Kennedy employees and journalists, except for a limited number of media who will receive confirmation in writing in the coming days.

 

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

 

Sunday, Nov. 8

 

2 p.m. (approximately) – Crew Arrival Media Event at Kennedy with the following participants (limited, previously confirmed in-person media only):

 

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
  • NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, spacecraft commander
  • NASA astronaut Victor Glover, pilot
  • NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, mission specialist
  • JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, mission specialist

 

No teleconference option is available for this event.

 

Monday, Nov. 9

 

1:15 p.m. – Virtual Crew Media Engagement at Kennedy with Crew-1 astronauts:

 

  • NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, spacecraft commander
  • NASA astronaut Victor Glover, pilot
  • NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, mission specialist
  • JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, mission specialist

 

Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the newsroom at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston no later than 11:15 a.m. Monday, Nov. 9, at: jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov.

 

Time TBD – Flight Readiness Review Media Teleconference at Kennedy (no earlier than one hour after completion of the Flight Readiness Review, which may continue Tuesday, Nov. 10) with the following participants:

 

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Johnson
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, Johnson
  • Norm Knight, deputy manager, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • Benji Reed, senior director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
  • FAA representative

 

Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, at: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.

 

Thursday, Nov. 12

 

Time TBD – Prelaunch News Conference at Kennedy (no earlier than one hour after completion of the Launch Readiness Review) with the following participants:

 

  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Johnson
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, Johnson
  • Kirt Costello, chief scientist, International Space Station Program, Johnson
  • Norm Knight, deputy manager, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • Benji Reed, senior director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
  • Arlena Moses, launch weather officer, U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron

 

Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than noon on Thursday, Nov. 12, at: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.

 

Friday, Nov. 13

 

10 a.m. – Administrator Countdown Clock Briefing with the following participants (limited, previously confirmed in-person media only):

 

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana
  • Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
  • NASA astronaut representative

 

No teleconference option is available for this event.

 

Saturday, Nov. 14

 

3:30 p.m. – NASA Television launch coverage begins. NASA Television will have continuous coverage, including docking, hatch open, and welcome ceremony, with a news conference following docking activities.

 

Sunday, Nov. 15

 

4:20 a.m. – Docking

 

7 a.m. (approximately) – Welcome Ceremony from the International Space Station

 

7:20 a.m. (approximately – immediately following Welcome Ceremony) - Post-docking news conference from Johnson with the following participants:

 

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
  • Johnson Center Director Mark Geyer
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Johnson
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, Johnson
  • SpaceX representative

 

Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Johnson newsroom no later than 4 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, at: jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov.

 

Monday, Nov. 16

 

Time TBD – International Space Station News Conference from Johnson with the following Expedition 64 crew members:

 

  • NASA astronaut Kate Rubins
  • NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins
  • NASA astronaut Victor Glover
  • NASA astronaut Shannon Walker
  • JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi

 

Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Johnson newsroom at no later than 8 a.m. Nov. 16 at: jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov.

 

NASA TV Launch Coverage

 

NASA TV live coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules, and links to streaming video, visit:

 

http://www.nasa.gov/live

 

Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, "mission audio," countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135.

 

On launch day, a “clean feed” of the launch without NASA TV commentary will be carried on the NASA TV media channel. Launch also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz and UHF radio frequency 444.925 MHz, heard within Brevard County on the Space Coast.

 

NASA Website Launch Coverage

 

Launch day coverage of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission will be available on the NASA website. Coverage will include live streaming and blog updates beginning no earlier than 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, as the countdown milestones occur. On-demand streaming video and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact the Kennedy newsroom at 321-867-2468. Follow countdown coverage on our launch blog at:

 

http://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

 

Public Participation

 

NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch. Members of the public can attend the launch virtually, receiving mission updates and opportunities normally reserved for on-site guests.

 

NASA’s virtual launch experience for Crew-1 includes curated launch resources, a digital boarding pass, notifications about NASA social interactions, and the opportunity for a virtual launch passport stamp following a successful launch.

 

Register for email updates or RSVP to the Facebook event for social media updates to stay up-to-date on mission information, mission highlights, and interaction opportunities.

 

Print, fold, and get ready to fill your virtual launch passport. Stamps will be emailed following launches to all virtual attendees registered by email through Eventbrite.

 

Engage kids and students in virtual and hands-on activities that are both family-friendly and educational through Next Gen STEM Commercial Crew.

Quelle: NASA 

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Update: 8.11.2020

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Crew Dragon at Launch Complex for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1; Astronauts Arrive Sunday

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The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Thursday, Nov. 5, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: SpaceX

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Thursday, Nov. 5, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

A few days from now, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, topped by Crew Dragon, will be raised to a vertical position at the pad. Crew-1 astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will fly from their home base at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to the Florida spaceport on Sunday, Nov. 8.

The Crew-1 astronauts participate in a training exercise on July 22, 2020.
Pilot Victor Glover, spacecraft commander Michael Hopkins, mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, and mission specialist Shannon Walker participate in a SpaceX training exercise on July 22, 2020, at Kennedy. Photo credit: SpaceX

The schedule calls for the astronauts to depart from Ellington Field near Johnson and fly to Kennedy aboard a charter plane. They’re expected to arrive at Kennedy’s Launch and Landing Facility on Sunday afternoon. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard, Center Director Bob Cabana, and Junichi Sakai, manager of JAXA’s International Space Station Program, will greet the crew, followed by a media event at the runway that will broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, weather permitting.

For NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi will launch to the International Space Station aboard Crew Dragon, powered by the Falcon 9. Liftoff from Launch Complex 39A is targeted for 7:49 p.m. EST Saturday, Nov. 14.

After launch, the spacecraft, which the Crew-1 astronauts named Resilience, will perform a series of maneuvers, culminating with rendezvous and docking with the space station. Upon their arrival aboard, the Crew-1 astronauts will become members of Expedition 64, joining NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, as well as Expedition 64 commander Sergey Ryzhikov and flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

The Crew-1 mission is a major step for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Operational, long-duration commercial crew rotation missions will enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place onboard the station.

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Quelle: NASA

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Quelle: NASA

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Update: 10.11.2020

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SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts arrive in Florida for historic launch to ISS

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It turns out two falcons will make SpaceX's next crewed mission to the International Space Station a reality.

A chartered Dassault Falcon 900 jet flew into Kennedy Space Center's former Shuttle Landing Facility on Sunday, dropping off astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi for the next phase of their launch preparations. NASA's own Gulfstream jet was unavailable due to scheduled inspections.

The astronauts' next ride: a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule, currently slated for liftoff from pad 39A at 7:49 p.m. Saturday.

Despite winds and sporadic rains caused by the outer bands of Tropical Storm Eta, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard, and KSC Director Bob Cabana were still able to hold a welcoming briefing on the flightline.

"It feels really good to be here," Crew-1 mission commander Mike Hopkins said. "We're ready. We've spent the last couple of weeks fine-tuning our training and we've also had an opportunity to spend a little time at home with our families."

Hopkins confirmed SpaceX is now targeting Tuesday – a one-day delay – for the static test fire of Falcon 9's Merlin main engines, a routine operation that provides engineers critical data ahead of liftoff. It's especially important this time as a separate Falcon 9 mission in October saw a premature engine start and had to abort at the last second.

SpaceX says the issue, caused by the buildup of a protective masking lacquer in a valve, has since been fixed. The scrubbed mission flew from Cape Canaveral last week without any issues, giving NASA the engine data it needed to be sure.

Crew-1 marks SpaceX's first certified, long-duration flight to the ISS. The company earned Crew Dragon certification after the successful May 30 launch of astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the orbiting science laboratory.

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