A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with ISS-RapidScat on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida early Saturday morning, Sept. 20, 2014 (EDT). Image credit: NASA
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The SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying the ISS-RapidScat mission has separated from the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, and the Dragon capsule is in its final preliminary orbit. Berthing with the space station is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 23.


NASA's International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat, has lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on board SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.


UPDATE: 10:25 p.m. PDT - Sept. 20 (1:25 a.m. EDT - Sept. 21)

The next launch opportunity for SpaceX's planned launch of its Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft and JPL's ISS-RapidScat mission is set for Saturday, Sept. 20, at approximately 10:52 p.m. PDT (Sunday, Sept. 21, at 1:52 a.m. EDT). Live NASA Television coverage is online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

It is SpaceX's fourth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station.

For more information about the upcoming launch, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacex


UPDATE: 11:18 p.m. PDT - Sept. 19 (2:18 a.m. EDT - Sept. 20)

Because of weather conditions that violated the rules for launching, SpaceX has postponed its planned launch of its Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft and JPL's ISS-RapidScat mission. It is SpaceX's fourth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station.

The next launch opportunity is Saturday, Sept. 20, at approximately 10:52 p.m. PDT (Sunday, Sept. 21, at 1:52 a.m. EDT). NASA Television coverage will begin at 9:45 p.m. PDT Saturday (12:45 a.m. EDT Sunday) at: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The spacecraft is loaded with more than 5,000 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations including critical materials to support 255 science and research investigations during the station's Expeditions 41 and 42.

For more information about the upcoming launch, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacex


The launch of NASA's International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat, on board the fourth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission is scheduled for 11:14 p.m. PDT Sept. 19 (2:14 a.m. EDT Sept. 20). The instrument will monitor ocean winds from its perch on the space station. It will track hurricanes and storms, and provide a better understanding of Earth's climate.

NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 10 p.m. PDT (1 a.m. EDT). Watch online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

ISS-RapidScat is one of several cargo items being delivered to the space station for NASA by SpaceX's Dragon capsule. The capsule will be boosted to space by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off from the company's hangar at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch window is instantaneous; should it pass, the next launch opportunity is Saturday, Sept. 20, at approximately 10:53 p.m. PDT (Sunday, Sept. 21, at approximately 1:53 a.m. EDT).

Seconds before launch, nine Merlin engines on the rocket's first stage will ignite. Upon release of the vehicle at liftoff, the engines will produce more than 1.3 million pounds (600,000 kilograms) of thrust. One minute and 10 seconds after launch, the rocket will be traveling at supersonic speeds. Main-engine cutoff occurs about 161 seconds after launch. Three seconds later, the first and second stages separate. Eight seconds after that, the second stage burns for seven minutes, bringing the rocket into a low-Earth orbit. During this time, the nose cone protecting the Dragon capsule opens up and falls away.

The second-stage engine cuts off at nine minutes and 40 seconds after launch. Thirty-five seconds later, Dragon separates from the rocket, reaching a preliminary orbit. The solar arrays deploy soon after, and a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings over the next two days put Dragon in reach of the space station.

As Dragon chases the station, it will establish communication with the ground and space station. On Monday, Sept. 22, a final decision to mate the capsule with the station will be made by NASA's Mission Control in Houston and the SpaceX team in Hawthorne, California. The astronauts on board the station will use a robotic arm to capture the capsule, and berth it with the Nadir docking port on Node 2.

Nine days after the capsule docks with the station, the ISS-RapidScat instrument is scheduled to be installed on the External Payload Facility SDX site of the Columbus module over a three-day period by the robotic arm with commands from the ground. ISS-RapidScat is an autonomous payload, requiring no interaction from space station astronauts.

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, are expected to activate the instrument about 12 to 18 days after launch. A two-week period of calibration and validation will follow, before RapidScat begins its two-year science mission.

For more information about ISS-RapidScat, visit:

http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/RapidScat/

http://www.nasa.gov/rapidscat

For more information about SpaceX space station resupply missions, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/spacex


News Media Contact

Alan Buis
818-354-0474
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Alan.Buis@jpl.nasa.gov

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