Launch window and location:

 

CRS-17 is currently targeting Tuesday, April 30th with an instantaneous launch window opening at 4:22 AM EDT (0822 UTC). CRS-17 will be launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SLC-40 atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

What is an instantaneous launch window?:

When a window is instantaneous it means that the launch has to happen at that exact second or it will be scrubbed, this is because Dragon is heading to the ISS and needs to match its orbit to get there.


Booster landing:

The booster will be making a RTLS (Return To Launch Site) landing at CCAFS LZ-1.

 

Weather forecast:

The 45th Space Wing typically begins issuing weather forecasts around 3 - 4 days prior to launch.

Links:


Where to watch:

Our launch viewing guide should be complete sometime by the end of April, if not early-May. But in the meantime, check out these great launch viewing guides:

Our recommendations for this launch:

  • FL-401 is around 11 miles away from the pad, but it offers a nearly unobstructed view of the launch and is only about 6 miles away from LZ-1, making it an amazing spot to watch the the RTLS booster landing from!

  • Playalinda Beach will give you some close views of the launch at around 7 miles from the launch pad, but has a limited capacity and is a popular viewing location. We aren’t sure if Playalinda will be open for this launch since the targeted T-0 is 5 minutes before the park opens. We will contact Canaveral National Seashore HQ and will update this when we have confirmation.

  • Max Brewer Bridge is another decent choice for launch viewing. Located about 14 miles from the pad, you can get some decent views of the launch by going up to the top of the bridge.

  • Space View Park is about 14 miles from SLC-40, but is popular due to its relatively unobstructed view of the pad.

  • Jetty Park is only 6 miles from LZ-1, making it the absolute best place to be to experience the booster landing. Though it won’t offer the best view of the launch with the pad being over 11 miles away and line of sight being blocked by mangroves and trees.

  • Exploration Tower offers a great view of both the launch and landing from its 7th story observation deck. At this time, the tower hasn’t confirmed if they’ll be selling tickets for this launch, we’ll update this when they do.


IMPORTANT NOTICES:

  • Kennedy Space Center’s Observation Gantry tickets are now SOLD OUT.

  • Kennedy Space Center’s Banana Creek Launch Viewing (6.2 miles from SLC-40) tickets are still AVAILABLE (click here to purchase).

  • Exploration Tower hasn’t begun selling tickets yet — and it’s not clear if they will. We’ll update this section with links when they do.


Where will the Launch360 crew be filming from?:

We have press credentials for this launch so we’ll be filming from within Kennedy Space Center — likely at the NASA Causeway, but possibly on the VAB.

Graphic from Everyday Astronaut.

Graphic from Everyday Astronaut.


watch live online:

The SpaceX livestream typically begins 15 minutes prior to launch. NASA TV will also be covering the launch, their coverage typically begins around 45 minutes prior to launch. There will likely be multiple streamers providing coverage of the launch, we’ll provide links to their streams as we get closer to launch.


launch hazard and NOTAM:

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The 45th Space Wing will issue NOTAMs for CRS-17 as we get closer to the target date.

Click here for a general launch restriction nautical chart from NOAA.


Press kit:

SpaceX’s press kit for CRS-17 will be released as we get closer to launch.


About Falcon 9:

Falcon 9 render from SpaceX

Falcon 9 render from SpaceX

“Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. Falcon 9 is the first orbital class rocket capable of reflight. SpaceX believes rocket reusability is the key breakthrough needed to reduce the cost of access to space and enable people to live on other planets.

Falcon 9 was designed from the ground up for maximum reliability. Falcon 9’s simple two-stage configuration minimizes the number of separation events -- and with nine first-stage engines, it can safely complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown.

Falcon 9 made history in 2012 when it delivered Dragon into the correct orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station, making SpaceX the first commercial company ever to visit the station. Since then Falcon 9 has made numerous trips to space, delivering satellites to orbit as well as delivering and returning cargo from the space station for NASA. Falcon 9, along with the Dragon spacecraft, was designed from the outset to deliver humans into space and under an agreement with NASA, SpaceX is actively working toward this goal.

Falcon 9’s first stage incorporates nine Merlin engines and aluminum-lithium alloy tanks containing liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) propellant. After ignition, a hold-before-release system ensures that all engines are verified for full-thrust performance before the rocket is released for flight. Then, with thrust greater than five 747s at full power, the Merlin engines launch the rocket to space. Unlike airplanes, a rocket's thrust actually increases with altitude; Falcon 9 generates more than 1.7 million pounds of thrust at sea level but gets up to over 1.8 million pounds of thrust in the vacuum of space. The first stage engines are gradually throttled near the end of first-stage flight to limit launch vehicle acceleration as the rocket’s mass decreases with the burning of fuel.

With its nine first-stage Merlin engines clustered together, Falcon 9 can sustain up to two engine shutdowns during flight and still successfully complete its mission. Falcon 9 is the only launch vehicle in its class with this key reliability feature.

The interstage is a composite structure that connects the first and second stages and holds the release and separation system. Falcon 9 uses an all-pneumatic stage separation system for low-shock, highly reliable separation that can be tested on the ground, unlike pyrotechnic systems used on most launch vehicles.

The second stage, powered by a single Merlin vacuum engine, delivers Falcon 9’s payload to the desired orbit. The second stage engine ignites a few seconds after stage separation, and can be restarted multiple times to place multiple payloads into different orbits. For maximum reliability, the second stage has redundant igniter systems. Like the first stage, the second stage is made from a high-strength aluminum-lithium alloy.”

(from SpaceX)


About crs-17:

Image of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule from NASA.

Image of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule from NASA.

CRS-17 will be SpaceX’s 17th operational cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract. SpaceX’s Dragon capsule will deliver thousands of pounds of supplies, experiments, and other payloads to the ISS.

“Dragon carries cargo in the spacecraft’s pressurized capsule and unpressurized trunk, which can also accommodate secondary payloads. In the future, [Crew] Dragon will carry astronauts in the pressurized capsule as well.”

(from SpaceX)



Launch360 updates:

  • The Launch360 crew will be unable to answer any questions on launch day due to low connectivity at the viewing site.

  • We’ve been working hard to complete our launch viewing guide and should hopefully have it up by mid-April, prior to launch!

  • Like and follow our social media for future spaceflight updates and launch VR experiences!


Disclaimer:

Launch360 is NOT responsible for the development and/or launching of these spacecraft and have no control over launch dates, times, or frequency. Launch dates/times are always subject to change!


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