Mission Overview SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Dragon spacecraft to low Earth orbit to deliver critical cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA.
SpaceX is targeting an afternoon launch of its eighth Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-8) from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The instantaneous launch window opens on April 8th at 4:43pm ET, and a backup launch window opens at 4:20pm ET on April 9th . Dragon will be deployed about 10 minutes after liftoff and attach to the ISS about two days later.
Following stage separation, the first stage of the Falcon 9 will attempt an experimental landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Dragon spacecraft will be filled with about 7,000 pounds of critical supplies and payloads for the space station crew, including materials to support dozens of the approximately 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 47 and 48. Dragon’s unpressurized trunk will carry the approximately 3,100 pound Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, that will attach to the space station and demonstrate expandable in-space habitat technology.
SpaceX CRS-8 is the eighth of up to 20 missions to the International Space Station that SpaceX will fly for NASA under the CRS contract. In January 2016, NASA announced that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft have been selected to resupply the space station through 2024 as part of the second Commercial Resupply Services contract award. Under the CRS contracts, SpaceX has restored an American capability to deliver and return significant amounts of cargo, including live plants and animals, to and from the orbiting laboratory. A version of Dragon is also being developed for astronaut transport to and from the ISS.
About two days after launch, International Space Station crew members will use the station’s 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) robotic arm to reach out and capture the Dragon spacecraft and attach it to the station. Return Flight Dragon will return to Earth after just over a month stay at the ISS. Approximately five hours after Dragon leaves the station, it will conduct its deorbit burn, which lasts up to 10 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes for Dragon to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.
For more information about the mission and payloads, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex.
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