SpaceX COTS2 Photos and Videos
Go, go, go!
So far so good. The Dragon spacecraft separated and the solar arrays deployed.
Liftoff Video, complete launch video, and my favorite: the sound of the employees cheering as we watch the solar arrays deploying, the first major new and essential technical milestone of this mission. They have to have power to finish the testing and berth with the ISS.
Congrats to Elon Musk, Gwynne Shotwell and the entire SpaceX team!!!
Startups get pretty excited at a new product launch. With rockets, many of the metaphors are quite real, and visible, and loud. Here you can see the employee reception of Elon Musk at Mission Control... and 1,800 of them cheering at 1 am. So amazing.
Mission Highlights from SpaceX:
During the mission, Dragon must perform a series of complex tasks, each presenting significant technical challenges (dates subject to change):
· May 22/Launch Day: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches a Dragon spacecraft into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
· May 23: Dragon orbits Earth as it travels toward the International Space Station.
· May 24: Dragon’s sensors and flight systems are subjected to a series of complicated tests to determine if the vehicle is ready to berth with the space station; these tests include maneuvers and systems checks in which the vehicle comes within 1.5 miles of the station.
· May 25: NASA decides if Dragon is allowed to attempt berthing with the station. If so, Dragon approaches. It is captured by station’s robotic arm and attached to the station, a feat that requires extreme precision.
· May 25 - 31: Astronauts open Dragon’s hatch, unload supplies and fill Dragon with return cargo.
· May 31: After approximately two weeks, Dragon is detached from the station and returns to Earth, landing in the Pacific, hundreds of miles west of Southern California.