Launch window and location:
CRS-18 is currently targeting Sunday, July 21 with an instantaneous window opening at 7:35 PM EDT (2335 UTC). CRS-18 will be launching from Cape Canaveral AFS, SLC-40 atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
Static fire test:
The static fire test will be targeting Tuesday, July 16 with a test window opening around 11:00 AM EDT (1530 UTC). A static fire test is where all engines on the vehicle, which is firmly held down on the pad, are fired to assess their performance prior to launch.
This launch will feature a return to launch site (RTLS) booster landing at LZ-1.
Where to watch:
Our launch viewing guide should be complete soon but in the meantime, check out these great launch viewing guides:
Our recommendations for this launch:
Jetty Park is also a popular viewing location, though it won’t offer the best view of the launch, it is the absolute best place to watch the RTLS booster landing at LZ-1 only 5 miles away.
Playalinda Beach is an incredibly popular launch viewing location and gets you as close as 7 miles from SLC-40 but won’t provide the best view of the booster landing at LZ-1. We recommend getting here early, parking is extremely limited.
Exploration Tower offers viewing from its 7th-floor observation deck and is located around 11 miles south of SLC-40. This elevated location should have a clear line of sight and will provide some amazing views of the booster landing only 7 miles away. Tickets are currently available for $15. Keep in mind that tripods are not permitted.
LC-39 Observation Gantry is the closest you can possibly get to the launch at only 3.4 miles from the SLC-40. Tickets are $49 and can be purchased from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex website.
KARS Park is a great viewing location just under 10 miles south of the pad that provides a clear view of the launch from the end of the pier. Parking is only $5 per car but is limited so we recommend getting here early!
Max Brewer Bridge is a 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 18 miles from SLC-40 and is a popular viewing location for its relatively clear view of the pad and volunteers broadcasting the live launch countdown.
FL-401 is PERMANENTLY CLOSED for launch viewing, though traffic is still permitted.
Launch360 crew position:
Unfortunately, we’ll be out of state for this one. Planning vacations around launches is extremely difficult, even for the pros.
SpaceX will release the press kit as we get closer to launch.
launch hazard and NOTAM:
About Falcon 9:
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is a two-stage, partially reusable orbital rocket capable of lifting payloads up to 50,300 lbs into low Earth orbit (LEO). Falcon 9’s first stage is comprised of nine Merlin 1D+ engines, capable of unleashing over 1.7 million pounds of thrust during launch. SpaceX has two main ways of returning the first stage, one being a Return to Launch Site (RTLS) booster landing and the other being an Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) booster landing. During RTLS landings, the booster will land at one of SpaceX’s three landing zones at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). As we saw with the CRS-16 water landing, the booster actually targets just offshore and will automatically adjust this to the planned landing zone if all systems are nominal. This is to prevent an out-of-control booster from slamming into and damaging the landing zone. During Space Coast ASDS landings, the booster will land on SpaceX’s Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) drone ship. ASDS landings typically can’t be seen from shore due to how far out in the Atlantic they are, but if the conditions are just right you can sometimes see the booster’s reentry burn a few minutes after separation. SpaceX uses the Falcon 9 for its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and is working on human-rating Falcon 9 for manned missions in 2019, which they made major strides toward after the successful flight of Crew Dragon Demo-1 in March 2019. At the time of writing this, Falcon 9 has launched 72 times with 70 of those launches being successful.
CRS-18 will Dragon’s 18th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.
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 within the next couple weeks.
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