SpaceX Gets a Break from Mother Nature, CRS-3 Lifts Off

SpaceX Gets a Break from Mother Nature, CRS-3 Lifts Off

Despite a gloomy forecast, the weather held for launch of SpaceX’s third operational cargo mission (CRS-3) to the International Space Station this afternoon.   The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on time and its Dragon cargo spacecraft is in orbit. 

The launch was delayed several times, most recently on Monday when it was scrubbed shortly before launch because of a technical problem.

A post-launch press conference is scheduled for 5:00 pm ET today that will be carried on NASA TV.    There is much interest in how SpaceX’s test of landing legs on the Falcon 9 first stage went; hopefully they will have news at the press conference.   SpaceX eventually wants to return the first stage to land and reuse it, but today’s test was over the ocean.

NASA may also announce a new launch date for the next cargo mission to the ISS.  This will be the second operational launch of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares/Cygnus system — Orb-2.  The current launch date is May 6, but because this SpaceX launch was delayed several times, NASA said earlier that they may ask Orbital to wait until June 9 to launch that mission.   Orbital launches these flights from Wallops Flight Facility, VA.

Dragon will arrive at the ISS on Sunday morning, April 20, and be grappled using Canadarm2 at about 7:14 am ET.  It will be berthed to an ISS docking port around 9:30 am ET.  NASA TV will cover the events live beginning at 5:45 am ET.

With the successful launch today and assuming a successful berthing on Sunday, NASA plans to conduct a spacewalk on Wednesday, April 23, to fix a broken computer on the exterior of the ISS.  NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson will begin the spacewalk at 8:55 am ET.  NASA TV coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 8:00 am ET.



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