Despite having to again delay the launch of the DSCOVR mission, this time due to higher than acceptable upper level winds, they still had a successful conclusion to another mission that has been in space for the last month.
The Dragon capsule that was docked to the International Space Station as part of there Commercial Resupply Services contract concluded its mission with a splash down in the Pacific Ocean. The spacecraft which spent the last four weeks berthed to the station was released by the ISS’s robot arm earlier today and following a successful de-orbit burn splashed down.
The spacecraft will now be returned to port where the critical supplies will be off-loaded and handed over to NASA, it will then return to Texas for final processing.
Following Saturday’s beautiful launch of the Falcon 9 and two days of rendezvous maneuvers the SpaceX Dragon vehicle arrived at the ISS early this morning. This is the sixth time that Dragon has visited the station, once under the COTS development program and five times under the cargo resupply contract (CRS) awarded to SpaceX.
The spacecraft was grappled by Astronaut Butch Wilmore at 5:54am EST using the station arm, mission control then maneuvered the spacecraft into position to allow the berthing process to be completed, the sixteen bolts were then fastened to create a hard link between the two. The hatches may be opened later today and the spacecraft it due to stay at the station for the next 29 days before being leave to return critical items back to Earth on 2/10.
Among the 5000+ pounds of cargo delivered by Dragon are Christmas presents and fresh groceries for the crew to enjoy.
The images below were captured from the NASA TV broadcast of the events
Following a smooth countdown this morning the Falcon 9’s engines roared to live to carry the Dragon spacecraft to orbit, Follow successful separation from the second stage the solar array’s deploy and the spacecraft is now heading to the International Space Station to deliver 1.8 metric tonnes of supplies.
Elon Musk tweeted two updates on the landing attempt.
Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho.
The launch of the Falcon 9 carrying Dragon to the International Space Station for the CRS-5 mission has been delayed until 4:47 am EST on Saturday 1/10. The launch was scrubbed on Tuesday with just 90 seconds left in the countdown due to a faulty Z actuator on the second stage. The actuator which is part of the system that helps control the direction of the stage during firing was drift more than expected.
The launch will be shown live on NASA TV and SpaceX Webcast.
Today’s launch of the Falcon 9 carrying the CRS-5 mission to the International Space Station. Initial indications show an issue with actuator drift on the spacecraft, assuming it can be resolved by Friday the next attempt will be at 5:09 am EST.
Update: Elon Musk tweeted that they are investigating the upper stage Z actuator which was behaving strangely during the final stages of the countdown today.
The weather forecast for Friday’s attempt is currently showing a 20% chance of launch criteria violation due to fly through precipitation.